Clear sailing
Even though it now looks like it will be sometime in August before a new agreement between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and employers is in place, no one is panicking and tensions appear low. Why?

Images for weekly wrap-up
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association met for three days this past week without concluding negotiations; at the weekend, the parties announced a week-long recess in the talks. German carrier Hamburg Süd announced plans to acquire the container operations of Chile’s CCNI, in a move resembling the deal between larger competitor Hapag-Lloyd and Chile’s CSAV, and Crowley is reported to be in talks to acquire Horizon Lines’ Puerto Rico assets. Earnings reports by U.S. truckload carriers are pointing to a stronger freight recovery in the United States, though rail service continues to be held back. And on Friday, Anne S. Ferro announced her departure from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration after five years leading the agency.

Pause button
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association have recessed contract negotiations for the coming week so ILWU officers can participate in unrelated contract talks with grain handlers in the Pacific Northwest.

China
If the negative portrayal by China’s state broadcaster of the proposed 2M tie-up between Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co. this weekend has official backing, it could be an indication of internal political pressure to shield Cosco and China Shipping Container Lines from a stronger competitor.

A rise in traffic from Asia to Mediterranean ports has led to tight capacity and a substantial rise in spot prices.

The Suez Canal’s major deepening project is just over the horizon as crews will start widening and dredging a 34-kiliometer strip in order to improve wait times for vessels using the canal.

Ometepe Island volcanoes in Lake Nicaragua.
When the Nicaraguan government earlier this month approved plans by a Hong Kong-based company to build a canal linking the Pacific with the Caribbean and thus the Atlantic, observers in the maritime industry were largely left scratching their heads.

Containerized U.S. imports rose 6.9 percent year-over-year in June.
U.S. containerized imports in June showed substantial year-over-year growth, as labor negotiations on the West Coast seem to have induced an early ocean container shipping peak season.

Fresh from acquiring U.S. truckload carrier Transport America, Canadian trucking giant TransForce is offering nearly C$500 million for Contrans, a publicly owned Woodstock, Ontario-based holding company specializing in bulk, flatbed, and tank trucking.

TNT truck
TNT Express today posted improved second-quarter results, driven by an ongoing restructuring program, cost cuts and a continued recovery at its previously loss-making Brazilian business.

Port of Rotterdam. Photo: travelfoto / Shutterstock.com
Worsening congestion at the port of Rotterdam has prompted two short sea and feeder shipping lines to impose surcharges of around $100 per container.

Union Pacific intermodal train
Union Pacific management hopes that the company’s grab of rail business from its main competitor, BNSF, will translate into more long-term business for UP in the future.

Drayage drivers serving New York-New Jersey port terminals said at a weekend forum that they need quick action to reduce turn times that require them to sit in long queues for several hours a day without full compensation.