The CEOs of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma have urged President Obama to assign a federal monitor to help settle a West Coast longshoremen’s contract dispute that the port officials said is having a “crippling effect” on commerce.

The inability of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association to achieve consensus in the contract negotiations that began more than six months ago was demonstrated once again today with parties disagreeing over the current status of the talks.

Five carriers today joined Mediterranean Shipping Co. in announcing congestion surcharges on cargo heading from Asia to U.S. West Coast ports.

Cranes
Terminal operator Gulftainer is a step closer to readying its Al-Sharjah Emirati terminal for mega-ships after it received $60 million of new crane equipment for the Khorfakkan Container Terminal.

Trans-Pacific carriers only achieved half the general rate increase gain they hoped to via a $600-per FEU hike, Drewry Maritime Research said today.

Asia’s competitive airline environment is placing intense profitability pressure on carriers in the region, but the focus on costs will not see air cargo shippers facing the wide scale route cutbacks, reduced frequencies and rolled shipments that have afflicted their ocean freight counterparts.

There is still no end in sight to the port of Manila congestion more than six months after an ill-considered truck ban quickly began to see containers stacking up at the two main terminals in the Philippine capital.

Air cargo is going through a period of adjustment that will keep profitability largely out of reach for the world’s carriers until more of a balance is achieved between cargo capacity and demand.

Trucks
The step Los Angeles and Long Beach marine terminal operators are taking to reduce congestion — keeping gates open continuously from early morning till late at night and adding shifts weekly -—will prove to be more effective than eliminating the PierPass traffic mitigation fee, as some groups are asking for, said John Cushing, president of PierPass Inc.

The labor and congestion situation at West Coast ports appears to be in a rut. Cargo is moving through major gateways although at a much slower pace than usual, and longshoremen are engaging in work slowdowns, but not to the degree where they invite federal government intervention.

A key indicator of trucking activity in October rebounded, thanks to an uptick in retail and manufacturing business.


Yusen Logistics warehouse
Yusen Logistics has opened a new warehouse in Vietnam’s Hai Phong City to tap growing electronics and auto manufacturing production in the country’s northern region.

As least seven carriers have suspended newly announced port congestion surcharges on cargo heading from Asia to the U.S. West Coast, likely resulting from importer pushback and U.S. regulatory scrutiny.