After weeks of sending mixed messages, the government of India now appears most likely to block the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) eagerly-awaited Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in a bid to safeguard its interest on food stockpiling and grain subsidies. A cabinet meeting chaired by newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi re-scheduled for Thursday is expected to definitively spell out India’s stance on the contentious issue. Click here to read more.
New developments in active safety technology have the potential to dramatically transform the trucking industry, perhaps even culminating someday in driverless trucks. As a step in that direction, Silicon Valley startup Peloton Technology has developed a vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication system it hopes to begin deploying on a large scale by next year. By tethering two trucks together — “platooning” as it is known — using advanced sensing intercommunications, Peleton says they can improve safety while cutting costs for thousands of trucks on the road. Click here to read more.
(Gordon Isfeld – Financial Post)
Canadian negotiators will meet with their Japanese counterparts next week in Ottawa for another round of talks on a free-trade agreement between the two countries. The talks, the sixth between Canada and Japan, will take place July 28 to 31.
Trade Minister Ed Fast said Tuesday a trade pact between with Japan could add $3.8-billion a year to Canada’s economy and create the equivalent of 25,000 jobs. Japan, the world’s third largest economy, is also Canada’s fourth biggest export market. Read more here.
(Russell Gold – Wall Street Journal)
Thousands of Railroad Tank Cars that Carry Crude Will Be Phased Out Under Plan
The U.S. government wants to phase out thousands of railroad tank cars that carry crude oil and ethanol within two years, as part of proposed rules to upgrade safety for trains carrying flammable fuels.
Tens of thousands of these older DOT-111 tank cars will have to be replaced or retrofitted under the proposed rules, expected to be announced Wednesday morning. That is a faster deadline than Canada’s three-year timeline to upgrade or phase out the railcars used to carry oil, ethanol and other hazardous liquids. Read more here.
Canadian Pacific (CP), one of two main railroad operators serving the upper Midwest in the US, is under further pressure to quicken grain shipments as Senator Heidi Heitkamp called on CP to disclose more data on the “extent of agriculture shipping delays”.
US agriculture groups leaned on CP and Berkshire Hathaway’s BNSF to speed shipments of fertilizer ahead of the spring planting season, and more recently raised concerns that rail-capacity snags will leave farmers and grain elevators in the upper Midwest still holding last year’s grain, leaving less storage capacity when this year’s harvest starts to come in, reported Dow Jones Newswires.
A CP spokesman said it would respond to Heitkamp’s concerns while devising a new approach to managing grain cars this fall.
(Dave Sherwood – Reuters)
City councilors in South Portland, Maine, voted late Monday night to ban the loading of crude oil onto tankers along its waterfront, throwing up yet another roadblock to the export of Canadian oil sands crude and setting up a showdown with industry which called the process illegal.
The city of 25,000, known for its scenic lighthouses and sweeping views of the island-speckled waters of Casco Bay, is also the east coast’s second largest oil port, located at the southern terminus of the Portland-Montreal Pipeline, which currently flows north to Canada. Read more here.
(Gavin van Marle – The Loadstar)
Collaboration is urgently needed to reduce the almost 70 million miles a year that hauliers carry empty containers, those attending the launch of the Independent Transport Commission’s report into the freight industry heard last week.
In his speech following the release of Improving the Efficiency of Freight Movements: the Contribution to the UK Economic Growth, Port of Tilbury chief executive Perry Glading said: “In my view, the main UK exporters, like the whisky industry in Scotland, hold the key. They can ensure that those moving their product co-ordinate and implement a plan to ensure that empty-container running is managed and minimised.
“This should improve their costs; so, in time, it is a win-win situation. They should be engaged within the next stage of this study,” he said. Read more here.
(Bill Mongelluzzo – JOC)
The union representing about 400 harbor truck drivers at Port Metro Vancouver has given Canadian officials until July 30 to enforce government-mandated pay rates for drivers, or face another possible trucker strike at Canada’s largest port.
“We will reconvene next Wednesday. We expect time frames,” said Gavin McGarrigle, director of the driver’s union known as Unifor.
McGarrigle met Monday with the federal government’s minister of transportation, Lisa Raitt, and British Columbia’s minister of transportation, Todd Stone, to discuss what he termed trucking companies’ widespread violation of the new trucking rates announced in March by federal mediator Vince Ready. Representatives of the more than 1,000 non-unionized drivers in Vancouver were also at the meeting. Read more here.
Canada and the United States are delivering on key Beyond the Border Action Plan commitments related to their joint Trusted Trader programs, according to a statement released yesterday by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
Trusted traders importing goods into Canada can now apply for additional benefits under the “platinum” version of the Customs Self Assessment program. CSA-Platinum is available to CSA importers who voluntarily demonstrate that their business systems, internal controls and self-testing processes are effective and reliable at ensuring trade compliance. Click here to read more.
China will join in and contribute to the construction of a new global trade system, said Premier Li Keqiang here on Tuesday.
Li also called on the United States to be more open and to create more favorable conditions for the two countries’ deeper cooperation, while meeting a delegation of U.S. business leaders and former senior officials.
The delegation, headed by President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Thomas Donohue, included former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, former U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky, and a group of senior business executives. Read more here.
Drivers servicing the country’s largest port urged government on Monday to take swift action against trucking companies, which they say aren’t living up to a deal hammered out last spring to end a strike.
More than 1,600 union and non-unionized truckers for Port Metro Vancouver went back to work in late March after negotiating an action plan that promised to improve job conditions.
Three months later they’re still not getting paid what’s owed, say representatives who met with two levels of government to request an order-in-council making rates legal and binding for workers across the sector. Read more here.
Canadian National Railway second-quarter profit increased 18% to $847 million on higher freight volumes, mainly from the record Canadian grain crop.
Like its rival CP Rail, CN saw record volumes of freight in the second quarter, recovering quickly from the icy winter.
Revenue from moving grain and fertilizers jumped 35%, revenue from metal and minerals was up 20% and intermodal and oil shipment revenues were up 17% in the quarter. Read more here.
(Bruce Barnard – JOC)
Air France-KLM, Europe’s largest cargo airline by revenue, is about to reveal whether it plans to shed its dedicated freighter fleet.
The Franco-Dutch carrier is expected to outline its strategy for Martinair, its all-cargo unit, when it announces its second-quarter results on July 25. Air France-KLM hired U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs to evaluate Martinair’s business as part of a plan to restore its cargo operation to profitability that includes selling the Amsterdam-based carrier, finding a joint venture partner or shutting it down. Read more here.
(Rajesh Roy – Wall street Journal)
All 160 WTO Members Must Ratify Deal For Its Implementation
India’s prime minister and his cabinet are expected to decide on Wednesday whether to effectively block a global trade deal, a senior Indian trade official said.
India has said it would not ratify a World Trade Organization trade facilitation agreement reached last year in Bali, Indonesia, if it isn’t given more freedom to help its poor citizens. Read more here.
(Bill Mongelluzzo – JOC)
When ports are hit with severe winter weather, chassis shortages, intermodal rail delays or an unexpected spike in container volume, life can be difficult for harbor truckers. When all of those factors converge at the same time, as they did this year, life is downright miserable in the drayage industry.
Truckers in Los Angeles-Long Beach and New York-New Jersey have contended nonstop with these problems since December. Harbor truckers at Port Metro Vancouver were spared the chassis problems because Canada operates under a mode where truckers provide their own chassis, but truckers in Vancouver were on strike for most of March because of congestion and salary issues.
The main force behind the congestion appears to be the ever-larger ships calling at ports across North America. When a single mega-ship calls at a terminal and generates the same volume that used to be carried by two vessels half that size calling at two different terminals, the mega-ship creates such a surge in cargo volume in a short period of time that the container yard and gates become congested. Read more here.
On July 21, 2014, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) initiated investigations under the Special Import Measures Act respecting the alleged injurious dumping of certain oil country tubular goods originating in or exported from Chinese Taipei, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam, and the alleged injurious subsidizing of certain oil country tubular goods originating in or exported from India, Indonesia, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam. The investigations follow a complaint filed by Tenaris Canada (Calgary, Alberta) and Evraz North America Inc. (Regina, Saskatchewan). Complete details are availablehere.
For the past eight years, manufacturers in Canada have been fighting an uphill battle. From the downturn of the U.S. economy and the rising Canadian dollar, to skilled labour challenges and off-shoring trends – manufacturing here has faced tough headwinds. Today, times are finally moving in a direction that helps rather than hinders manufacturers, according to KPMG’s Canadian Manufacturing Outlook 2014, released yesterday. Click here to read more.
In a joint statement issued last week, industry associations from around the world representing a multitude of sectors urged G20 trade ministers to address the rapidly growing challenge of “forced localization” – a harmful protectionist trend they contend is threatening to undermine the very foundation of a successful global trade market. Click here to read more.
(Fresh Fruit Plaza)
The contract negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) are on hold for two days so union members can attend to an unrelated event.
A joint release issued by both parties Friday said that after several days of ongoing talks, both parties would break from negotiations on Monday and Tuesday in order for the ILWU to convene its previously scheduled Longshore Division Caucus in San Francisco.
The talks are due to resume on Wednesday. Read more here.
(William B. Cassidy – JOC)
Manufacturing growth in Canada’s central province of Ontario is boosting freight traffic with the U.S. and increasing demand for faster cross-border trucking service.
Manufacturing sales in Ontario grew 3.3% year-over-year in the first quarter, as exports of parts, consumer goods and machinery increased, according to the Royal Bank of Canada.
“Sustained export momentum despite the elements (in the first quarter) bodes well for stronger advances in the rest of this year,” the RBC said in its June 2014 economic report. Read more here.