EU carbon charges, UK port congestion, surging container freight rates, a whirlwind peak season, the South African Airways lockout, and the new U.S. Transportation Secretary, oh my! We’ve got a lot to unpack in this week’s global freight updates.

 

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Let’s dive in by starting with the European Commission’s plans to make big changes in the shipping carbon market.

As of right now, the Commission remains undecided on whether or not it will include international trips in its ambitious emissions trading scheme plans. Many in the sector, however, are protesting what they believe to be an overreach on the Commission’s part to regulate the industry as it works toward its goal to reduce net emissions by at least 55% over the next 9 years.

Next up, we’ve got the port chaos that’s currently wreaking havoc on UK supply chains for 45% of manufacturers. With the severe strain caused by the impact of leading issues like COVID-19 and Brexit, the nation’s factories are reporting steep rises in lead times and stockpiled goods. 

The UK certainly isn’t the only one struggling to overcome massive transportation complications though. Countries around the world are scrambling to manage the distribution of the new coronavirus vaccine alongside the huge spikes in e-commerce imports primarily from China. And the U.S.-China trade war is only making matters worse.

Some ocean shipping lines have even refused to transport U.S. exports in an effort to prioritize taking back empty containers to China. Not to mention the fact that spot rates are continuing to soar everywhere, especially for Asia-North Europe lanes receiving quotes up to $5,000 per TEU.

And airfreight doesn’t have it any easier either. For instance, after declaring bankruptcy and then being forced to ground many flights last year, South African Airways recently put a temporary lockout into effect against 383 pilots due to reluctance over the airline’s new employment terms.

Last, but not least, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has officially nominated Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, to lead the country’s Transportation Department. To learn more, check out the following article highlights: