Spot rates in the eastbound Pacific were flat this week as vessels left Asia filled with consumer merchandise before factories there closed for the annual Chinese New Year celebrations.

warehouse inventory
Mentions of a recession-like environment from top transportation executives and lackluster growth in domestic and international freight volumes are sparking fears that a U.S. freight recession is upon us that could be a harbinger of something even worse: an outright economic recession.

SOLAS VGM IMO container weight
The United States and any other country that is party to SOLAS can delay implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s controversial container weight rule by up to a year, a fact bound to increase pressure on the U.S. Coast Guard to extend the deadline past July 1 to avoid potential trade disruption.

UPS, one of the world’s largest transportation firms, is the first major user of North America intermodal rail services to publicly weigh in on the proposed merger of Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern railways, saying it opposes the potential tie-up.

After volume rose 2.6 percent year-over-year in 2015, the Santos port authority expects volume through South America’s largest container port to inch up slightly this year, as the recession takes its toll, particularly on trade with its top trade partner, China.

The Port of Oakland Commission Thursday approved a $1.5 million program to help fund night and weekend gates during the next 12 weeks when Outer Harbor Terminals will transition out of the port and its cargo volume is redistributed to other facilities.

DP World on Friday unveiled a plan to invest $1 billion in India over the next few years, as the Dubai-headquartered terminal operator looks to tap into potential growth opportunities in the emerging Asian economy.

Retail inventories expanded in the U.S. in December, as slower than expected sales at brick-and-mortar stores kept large piles of goods largely intact. Those inventories are likely to be a drag on U.S. freight shipments in the first quarter, adding to fears of a new recession.

U.S. domestic intermodal spot rates aren’t rising, suggesting the traditional surge of imports ahead of Chinese New Year, when Asia factories close for about two weeks, is weak.

Big Port of St. Petersburg, Russia’s busiest seaport in terms of container traffic, posted a 27.8 percent year-over-year decline in container throughput for 2015 but is planning to regain its lead in the market in the coming years.

APM Terminals plans to retrofit at least five cranes at its Pier 400 terminal at Los Angeles to make them capable of handling fully laden mega-ships of up to 20,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units.

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone, India’s largest port infrastructure developer, recorded a big jump in its net earnings in the third fiscal quarter on the back of continued capacity expansion.

Japan’s Kintetsu World Express saw its group revenue soar 26.3 percent year-over-year in the first nine months of fiscal 2015, which ends March 31, to 295.159 billion yen ($2.57 billion), but that wasn’t enough to stop the company from downgrading its full-year revenue and profit forecasts.