US imports to keep driving global shipping imbalance

North American companies are signaling that they will need to build up larger inventory buffers to meet strong US consumer demand, something that will keep up pressure on ocean freight.

CN waiving demurrage for off-peak container pickup in Chicago, Memphis

Canadian National Railway (CN) is offering rebates on demurrage charges for shippers that pick up containers from its Chicago and Memphis terminals during periods of lower traffic in an attempt to mitigate congestion at the busy inland intermodal ramps.

COVID-19 resurgence threatens Europe’s rebounding economy

Rising EU imports are placing growing pressure on the regional supply chain, but European businesses fear the COVID-19 Delta variant poses “a major risk” to the regional economic outlook.

US rail regulators target container demurrage billing

The US Surface Transportation Board wants the seven Class I railroads to explain their policies and practices for demurrage fees, but the agency is holding off on regulating them more — for now.

Ryder, TForce expand last-mile networks as e-commerce boom accelerates

The last-mile divisions of logistics providers Ryder Systems and TFI International are building new hubs and remodeling existing networks to deliver increased speed-to-market for their retail customers.

Essential Reads

Despite the rare intervention by a US president in maritime affairs, the regulatory landscape for ocean shipping remains largely unchanged.
Cost concerns will temper more radical proposals to mitigate the effects of the next container shipping shock, but there is a sense that things will be different as demand becomes more volatile and pricing power shifts further away from shippers to carriers.
After scrambling for vessel space and paying record spot rates in the second quarter, retailers and other importers are being warned by carriers and forwarders to expect even higher rates and tighter space constraints in the third quarter.
Trailers are just as important to over-the-road trucking as containers are to intermodal rail, and just as scarce.
The economic indicators for Europe show a region in expansion mode as vaccines are rolled out and businesses reopened, driving up demand for containerized imports.