The Loadstar

  • US manufacturing dips due to east coast weather and ‘strikes’ in the west
    FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites 03/03/2015
    788px-February_2014_North_American_winter_storm_13_Feb_1745Z

    One of the financial barometers of a nation’s economic health is its manufacturing index, which generally sets a par level of 50; below which an economy is deemed to be contracting, and above that level suggested to be expanding.

    Yesterday saw the publication of the US Institute of Supply Management (ISM) index which recorded a fall in February to 52.9 from 53.5 in January – dipping to a 13-month low in the process.

    The unexpected decline was in part blamed on the bad weather that has hit the north east of the country this winter, but also on the disruption of cargo through the US west coast ports which in this article was said to be down to ‘strikes’ at the 29 ports. There is little doubt that the labour go slows and employer weekend shut downs did have a huge impact on the cargo processed at the west coast container ports and that is evidenced by the year-on-year 20% throughput drops at the main hubs.

    Moreover, the supply chain breakdown was obviously beginning to impact the otherwise rude health of the American nation; and that is why the White House sent its big guns to California to promptly knock heads together and resolve the issues.

     

     

    Read more...
  • Airlines stop accepting lithium-ion battery shipments due to fire risk
    FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites 03/03/2015
    lithium battery

    A Fox News link twice within a few weeks – apologies. However, it has reported that some passenger carriers are quietly abandoning bulk shipments of lithium ion batteries, over safety concerns. United, Delta and Air France have all banned bulk shipments, while AA is said to have stopped accepting some types. Restrictions on the shipment of lithium-ion batteries is not expected until 2017, although lithium metal batteries are now banned on passenger aircraft.

    Read more...
  • January 2015: bad start or business-as-usual for air cargo?
    FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites 03/03/2015
    wheel KN_AF_0031

    WorldACD has a rather positive take on the low-grade start to the year, in air cargo terms. Noting that unit revenues dropped year-on-year by a shocking 11% in January, and 8.5% month-on-month, it explains why – and the reasons broadly make up for the decline. First, it notes, fuel surcharges have fallen – whatever shippers are saying. Then it points out that the US$ decline in yields is partly attributable to deteriorating exchanges rates – while, of course, January is traditionally slow. “A bad start?” it asks. “We think not.” Encouraging.

    Read more...
  • Stifel Logistics Confidence Index hits bumpy patch
    FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites 02/03/2015
    1280px-Line0534

    Forwarders appear to be losing confidence over the next six months as concerns in Europe dragged down the continent’s Stifel Logistics Confidence Index. While the overall February results were up 0.3 points on last year and 3.8 points over 2013, the outlook was less certain. In sea freight, the six-month outlook fell 2.5 points – and all tradelanes declined. While those in air freight don’t appear to be getting more glum, they weren’t too happy to begin with. There was no change in the six-month outlook, and the Europe-Asia lane now stands at just 44.7, the lowest point since September 2013 when it fell to 42.4.

    Read more...
  • More than 50 shades of grey at LA/LB terminals
    FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites 02/03/2015
    ITS Terminal. Activity. On dock rail.  2012. Kline

    It will require all of the stakeholders at the San Pedro Bay ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to pull in the same direction in order to overcome a backlog of ships and containers that could take months rather than weeks to clear.

    Since ocean carriers decided to no longer provide chassis at US ports the availability of equipment has become a major issue and led to congestion at LA and LB terminals, even before the failing labour negotiations gridlocked the key US west coast hubs.

    Indeed, some major retailers were obliged to purchase their own chassis to ensure that their supply chain was uninterrupted, but now in what has been described as an “historic agreement” the three major chassis providing players have agreed from 1 March to operate a “pool of pools” of 81,000 units at 11 of the 13 LA / LB facilities to overcome chassis imbalance.

    What next in this spirit of co-operation, the PMA and ILWU agreeing new labour contracts ahead of expiry?

    Read more...