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Freight Forwarding Weekly: Port labor union negotiations stuck on shift lunches

🥪 West Coast ports witnessing more tensions in labor talks … over mealtimes🤦

Apparently, in a rise of tensions, dockworkers and longshoremen who are represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13 aren’t getting their full lunch hours.

Local 13 represents dockworkers at the twin ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles who say that operators are peeved with cargo delays that happen during mid-shifts and at mealtimes. Willie Adams, union president, said that his members can “take a lunch break just like everyone else.”

The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), a trade group that reps some of the largest ocean carriers in the world and other employers at the ports, said that union members stopped staggering their work shifts with meal times last week. According to the PMA, this has led to terminals having to shut down for an hour in the afternoon and for another hour at night. They claim that these interruptions triggered “significant delays” in cargo ops and trucking backups.

Read about the drama at GCaptain via Bloomberg and WSJ

🆙SC ports continue to have climbing volumes in rebuke to West and Gulf coast ports

Even after a year-over-year decline, last month proved to be successful for South Carolina Ports. Port of Charleston, for example, saw container volumes totaling about 201,418 TEUs. That is down 13 percent from February 2022. But this dip still was an indication of “stronger than typical” container volumes in February 2023. Barbara Melvin, the president and CEO of SC Ports, said that the state “continues to attract significant new business and investment. We have invested in port capacity and capabilities to efficiently handle goods for these port-dependent businesses.” SC Ports has handled 1.8 million TEUs since the start of the 2023 fiscal year.

Read at Freight Waves for more

🦺“Upticks” in aviation incidents, according to Sec. Buttigieg at FAA summit

Pete Buttigieg, the U.S. transportation secretary, told a safety summit hosted by the Federal Aviation Administration that there has been an “uptick” in aviation incidents, which he calls a series of “serious close calls.” FAA officials added that the incidents ranged from overstressed pilots to needing better ATC tech. This impacts cargo carriers and passenger liners.

Coverage at the illustrious CNN

🛫Maersk air cargo division opens Denmark-to-China services with cargo hubs

While we are talking air travel and cargo, shipping giant Maersk announced that it had opened new air cargo service routes between Denmark and China. With two new cargo hubs at Billund Airport, near Billund, and in Hangzhou, China, the company initiated this route due to claims of increased demand. A.P. Moller-Maersk consolidated its air cargo business by incorporating its air freight forwarding services and a private cargo airline under the banner of Maersk Air Cargo. A new route between China and the United States is planned for the near future. Maersk also just launched air freight services between Greenville-Spartanburg, SC, and Incheon, in the Republic of Korea, which is operated under agreement with Amerijet International, from Miami.

Read the press release from Maersk

Speaking of Korea…

💯Japan and South Korea restore trade status after a history of disputes

In global trade news, the Republic of Korea and Japan recently restored trade statuses with one another in return for preferential trade partnerships and an international status quo between two of the U.S.’s most crucial partners in East Asia. Yoon Suk Yeol, the president of South Korea, said that his government would move to restore Japan’s preferential trade status as he said that he would work to continue and resolve a history of trade disputes with Japan, despite opinion in both countries and their extremely violent colonial history.

Imperial Japan at the time treated the Korean people poorly and held dominion over Korea via violence and racism during the Second World War. Even as allied countries to the United States in the first few decades of the Cold War era, South Korea and Japan didn’t normalize diplomatic relations until 1965. It was at this time, according to the Japanese government, the restitution for indentured servitude during Japan’s colonial rule was resolved.

However, rulings in South Korean courts ordered two Japanese firms to compensate their former Korean employees and their families for forced labor. Japan refused.

Read more at ABC News online

🙃Honduras may drop Taiwan for mainland China

In global affairs and trade news, anonymous sources told Reuters that U.S. officials are getting squirrely with the Honduran government’s intentions to switch its official diplomatic allegiance to China away from Taiwan. Xiomara Castro, president of Honduras, said that her administration would formally establish ties with China, cashing in on a promise made during her 2021 bid for the presidency. She tried to do so in 2022 but chose not to in a controversial walk-back of the policy. This is troubling as China’s influence in much of Latin America continues to grow through diplomacy and trade deals. Other fears place concerns on the U.S. with China in a position to put the screws to the de facto hegemon of North and South American economics and trade.

Read at Reuters

⚠️Don’t forget to read these stories because we’re reading them…⚠️

📈 BY THE NUMBERS: Important numbers impacting freight and logistics

⛽ Diesel: $4.185 / gal (⬇️ from $4.247 last week) – Source: EIA

✈️ Air Cargo Index (Feb ‘23): 184.4 (⬇️ from 190 in Jan ‘23) – Source: FRED

🚢 Global Container Index: $1,463 (⬇️ from $1,568 last week) – Source: Freightos