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Canadian international merchandise trade, May 2015
Canada's exports declined 0.6 per cent in May while imports edged up 0.2 per cent. Export volumes decreased 2.5 per cent and prices increased 1.9 per cent. Meanwhile, import volumes were up 0.3 per cent and prices edged down 0.1 per cent.
As a result, Canada's merchandise trade deficit with the world widened from $3.0 billion in April to $3.3 billion in May.
Exports to countries other than the United States fell 1.6 per cent to $10.0 billion in May.
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Maersk orders nine 14,000-TEU ships from Hundai Heavy
Maersk Line announced it signed a new $1.1 billion building contract with Hyundai Heavy Industries. The order is for nine vessels with a capacity of 14,000 TEUs each. The agreement includes an option for up to eight additional ships. The vessels will have a length of 353 meters.
The contract was signed by Sam H. Ka, COO of HHI and Søren Toft, COO of Maersk Line, at a ceremony at Maersk Line's headquarters in Copenhagen.
US driver turnover drops sharply
Driver turnover in the US dropped sharply in the first quarter, reaching its lowest levels in years.
"Clearly, the decline in driver turnover in the first quarter was significant," ATA chief economist Bob Costello said, "but what is less clear is why it dropped so much and whether turnover will continue to remain low."
Turnover rates at large and small truckload fleets dropped 12 percent. This brought turnover at large fleet (more than US$30 million in revenue) to 84 percent, marking the first time it has fallen below 90 percent since 2011.
For smaller fleets, turnover dropped to 83 percent.
Railways expected to reduce outlook
The Canadian Press via Materials Management & Distribution
Canada's sluggish economy and lower volumes of coal, grain and energy-related products could undermine the lofty 2015 earnings goals for the country's two largest railways, say industry analysts.
Canadian National and Canadian Pacific are expected to temper their earnings outlook when they report results soon.
Calgary-based CP had anticipated at least 25 per cent earnings per share growth for the year, while Montreal's CN had suggested nearly 10 per cent growth.
Canada eyes impact of long oil trains on railway track integrity
Canadian officials are studying the impact of long oil trains on the integrity of the country's railway tracks, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said.
Raitt said the research is part of the federal transport department's response to a series of derailments along Canadian National Railway Co's mainline in northern Ontario earlier this year.
"We're looking at oil unit trains," Raitt told reporters in Toronto. "It's a significant change in how we're moving goods in the country, so that we should take a look at it."
CP Rail challenge to Lac-Megantic settlement rejected by judge
A Quebec judge rejected Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd's challenge to a settlement for victims of the Lac-Megantic crude-by-rail disaster, helping clear the way for compensation payments.
Parties previously named in a class action lawsuit, including closely-held Irving Oil, General Electric, Shell Oil Company, ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil and others, have agreed to contribute to a C$431 million ($338.28 million) compensation fund for victims of the July 6, 2013, rail disaster.
Union Pacific levies surcharge on older crude railcars
Union Pacific Corp. told customers that move crude in older railcars, it will levy a $1,200 per-car surcharge on oil, becoming at least the second U.S. railroad to raise costs in the midst of widespread safety concerns.
In a revised tariff effective Aug. 1, Reuters reports the No. 1 U.S. railroad posted rates that will charge shippers more if they use so-called DOT-111 railcars, which are not as strong as the cars built to a higher standard the industry adopted in October 2011.
Carbon trading: How does trucking fit in?
There is one famous adage from Thomas Edison I recall that somewhat reflects the message I wanted to deliver in this column: "Opportunity is something that is missed by most people because it arrives dressed in overalls and looks like work," he said.
In other words, upon first glance, opportunity often presents itself as a bug, not a feature.
I'm sure that's what many of you were thinking when the province of Ontario recently announced it would establish regulations that will govern carbon emissions.
US states using cameras to monitor truck driver behavior, compliance
Roads & Bridges
Arizona highway I-10, between Casa Grande Valley and the Phoenix metropolitan area, has recently been outfitted with a new series of camera towers — but it is not the speed-demons that they are looking to capture.
According to Arizona Department of Transportation spokesman Harold Sanders, the cameras are designed to check commercial trucks to see if they are compliant with regulations and are not overweight.
"It has nothing to do with speed enforcement," Sanders said.
FTR: Trucking's getting a breather with weakening freight demand
Whether it wants one or not, the US trucking industry is getting a bit of a breather.
Capacity utilization has dropped to a more normalized 95 per cent and the impact of regulatory drag on truck capacity has decreased, according to Noel Perry, truck and transportation expert for industry analyst FTR.
Frankfurt cargo handle dips in first half
Air Cargo World
In spite of a strong first quarter, Frankfurt Airport's airfreight and air mail throughput for the first half of the year, declined by 1.8 percent, year-over-year, to about 1.04 million tonnes. In June, cargo throughput dropped by 2.5 percent, y-o-y, to 173,984 metric tonnes.
Lufthansa Cargo, the airport’s largest cargo carrier, carried 811,000 tonnes of freight and air mail in the first six months of the year — a 0.5 percent increase over the same period in 2014 — and reported a load factor of 67.5 percent, down 2.5 percentage points.
Swiss postal service, air cargo carrier begin drone testing
Switzerland's mail service Swiss Post, cargo carrier Swiss WorldCargo and drone manufacturer Matternet started testing a small quadcopter for commercial use this month. The tests will focus on using the drone "in exceptional cases or [for] the transport of special items," the companies said.
In a joint announcement, the companies said their aim is to play a leading role in developing and identifying the technical possibilities and cost effectiveness of using drones for their own purposes at an early stage.
Study: Vancouver, Prince Rupert major competitors for US imports
According to a study of U.S. West Coast port volumes by U.K.-based firm Ocean Shipping Consultants, Vancouver has joined Prince Rupert as a major competitor to the Puget Sound ports of Tacoma and Seattle for U.S. imports.
U.S. importers are rapidly moving more containers through Port Metro Vancouver and to Chicago and the upper Midwest, dealing another blow to the ports of Seattle and Tacoma.
Drewry: Carriers will struggle to break even this year
A perfect storm of overcapacity, weak demand and high commercial pricing is threatening the profits of carriers for the rest of 2015, according to a recent Container Forecaster report from Drewry Maritime Research.
Earlier this year Drewry forecast that container shipping carriers would collectively generate profits of up to $8 billion in 2015, but they have now revised that to saying shipping lines will be lucky to break even this year. This means that some lines will be back in the red by the end of 2015.
G6 Alliance announces Asia-North America service enhancement
In response to market demand, members of the G6 Alliance have announced a service enhancement in the Asia–North America (East Coast) trade.
The Asia Suez Express service will be upgraded to include an additional Halifax call. This move is expected to improve transit times from Canada to Asian and Mediterranean ports as well as from Asian and Mediterranean ports to New York.
Drewry: Carriers position for Panama expansion
Container lines are hurrying to start new Asia to U.S. East Coast services prior to the opening of the wider Panama Canal, according to a recent issue of Container Insight by Drewry Maritime Research.
The $5.2 billion project to widen the Panama Canal is almost finished. According to the Panama Canal Authority, it was 89.8 percent complete at the end of May, with another important milestone reached in June —: the filling of the Atlantic side locks. Filling the Pacific side locks is now underway, at a rate of 37,000 gallons of water per minute, and should take 90 days.
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