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CITA-OTA Shipper-Carrier Forum to meet again
According to author David Bradley: One of my favourite TV shows of all-time is Monty Python's Flying Circus (yes I do have a sense of humour). There is one sketch that always made me laugh. It was a play on those popular mechanics-science shows where people get together and show you how simple it is to build things.
In this particular sketch, you learn how to build steel girder bridges and rid the world of all known disease. It ends with something like, "on next week’s show we'll be over in Moscow reconciling the Chinese and the Russians."
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Canada ranks 14th in global competitiveness for the 2nd consecutive year
The Conference Board of Canada
Canada ranks 14th overall for the second consecutive year in the 2013-14 Global Competitiveness Report, released by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The Conference Board of Canada is the Canadian Partner Institute for the WEF's Centre for Global Competitiveness and Performance, which produces the annual ranking.
Business Leaders' Perspectives; Canada's Competitiveness and Innovation Doldrums, also released, is the Conference Board's analysis of the Canadian results, and focuses on the underwhelming performance in areas such as innovation and business sophistication.
Canadian International Merchandise Trade
Canada's merchandise imports grew 0.6 percent in July while exports declined 0.6 percent. As a result, Canada's trade deficit with the world widened from $460 million in June to $931 million in July. Imports grew to $40.1 billion, as volumes were up 1.0 percent and prices edged down 0.4 percent. Higher volumes were recorded in metal ores and non-metallic minerals, basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products, and metal and non-metallic mineral products.
Exports declined to $39.2 billion. Lower exports of aircraft as well as unwrought precious metals and precious metal alloys were the main contributors to the decline. Overall, volumes were down 1.7 percent while prices increased 1.1 percent. Imports from the United States rose 2.7 percent to $26.3 billion, on the strength of imports of lubricants and other petroleum refinery products as well as precious metal ores and concentrates, and precious metal bullion. Exports to the United States were up 0.8 percent to $29.4 billion. Consequently, Canada's trade surplus with the United States narrowed from $3.6 billion in June to $3.2 billion in July.
Exports to countries other than the United States fell 4.5 percent to $9.8 billion, as lower exports were reported for the European Union (-15.9 percent). Imports from countries other than the United States decreased 3.1 percent to $13.9 billion, with the principal trading area "all other countries" (-3.3 percent) and the European Union (-5.1 percent) contributing the most to the decline. As a result, Canada's trade deficit with countries other than the United States was relatively unchanged from June to July at $4.1 billion.
Trucks transported 60.7 percent of U.S.-NAFTA trade
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation released June North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) freight numbers showing that trucks carried 60.7 percent of the $93.5 billion of freight moved in June 2013 between the United States and its NAFTA partners. Trucks were followed by rail at 15.8 percent, vessels at 8.2 percent, pipelines at 6.5 percent and air at 3.9 percent. BTS reported that the surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.0 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows, $77.6 billion of the total of $93.5 billion carried by all modes, including air and vessel. The value of freight carried by the surface modes in June 2013 declined 1.0 percent from June 2012, compared to the 0.8 percent decrease for all modes. Freight value on all modes rose 56.7 percent from June 2009.
For freight flows with Canada, trucks carried 56.0 percent of the $52.7 billion of the freight, followed by rail at 16.8 percent, pipelines at 10.8 percent, vessel at 5.5 percent and air at 4.5 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.7 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows. In June, Michigan led all states in goods transported to and from Canada, at $6.5 billion. Pennsylvania had the largest year-to-year percentage increase among the top 10 states, at 18.5 percent. Illinois had the largest year-to-year decrease at 10.6 percent. The top commodity category transported between the U.S. and Canada in June was vehicles, of which $3.5 billion was exported.
Potential tank-car rules a hot topic at Bakken conference
The Jamestown Sun
As oil industry representatives met to discuss the ever-changing industry, one thing was clear, there will be new regulations over shipping crude oil by train.
After the July derailment in Canada of a train carrying crude oil from North Dakota, the crude-by-rail safety inspections by the Obama administration, dubbed the "Bakken blitz," have many in the industry anxious about new federal regulations.
Pipeline vs. rail: Quebec oil train crash reinvigorates transport debate
By Lucy Wallwork
The tragic derailment and explosion of an oil train in Quebec recently has reinvigorated the debate about transport of the U.S. and Canada's new-found fossil fuel resources, and is destined to be exploited by all sides on the crude-by-rail versus crude-by-pipeline argument. With production ramping up at a heavy pace, the oil from the North has to arrive at East Coast refineries one way or another, and infrastructure is struggling to keep up with the pace. But what exactly are the costs, risks and benefits involved when we compare the two options?
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.
Bakken crude makeup faces scrutiny in rail car explosion
Midwest Energy News
As U.S. regulators and Canadian investigators home in on the calamitous derailment of a 73-car oil train in Quebec, one question lingers, fraught with consequences for crude shippers: Did the contents of the rail cars fuel the disaster's intense explosion and fire?
IATA — continued uptick in July cargo results
IATA announced global air cargo traffic results for July showing a continuation of the modest improvement trend experienced in June. Global freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) were up 1.2 percent in July year-on-year, slightly better than the 0.9 percenet year-on-year increase recorded in June, as growth in Europe and the Middle East offset weakness in Asia. As a result of the July performance, air freight volumes are at their highest level since mid-2011. Capacity increased 3.4 percent versus July 2012, pushing load factor down to 43.3 percent. However, load factors have stabilized compared to earlier in 2013. Airlines in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America contributed to the improved performance versus a year ago.
Asia-Pacific carriers' cargo demand fell 1.4 percent compared to July 2012, while capacity climbed 2.6 capacity. Asia-Pacific airlines have seen air freight contract 2.1 percent through the first seven months of 2013, the largest decline among regions. Business activity in China remains sluggish, with the Markit/HSBC Purchasing Managers Indices for manufacturing and export orders continuing to show softness. Moreover, the weakness extends beyond China, with emerging Asia trade volumes shrinking almost 5 percent in the first half of the year.
European carriers experienced a 1.5 percent increase in FTKs in July, while capacity climbed 3.5 percent July was the second consecutive month in which air freight demand increased, giving rise to cautious optimism. Questions remain, however, regarding the Eurozone's ability to sustain growth. Although the Eurozone's 18 month recession ended in the second quarter, performance among countries varies widely, with Portugal, Germany and France leading the expansion and Italy, Spain and the Netherlands showing contraction. Through the first eight months of 2013, FTKs rose 0.2 percent year-over-year.
North American airlines had another month of weak demand for air freight in July. FTKs fell 1.1 percent compared to the year-ago period, contributing to a 1.7 percent contraction in the first seven months of 2013 versus last year. Signals out of the US are mixed. July's performance represented a decline compared to June, but month-on-month growth rates have been especially volatile and recent indicators suggest rising business confidence, in line with an improving economy.
Middle East airlines led all regions with a 14.4 percent rise in FTKs compared to July 2012. Capacity climbed 11.1 percent. Year-to-date demand was up 11.7 percent. The Middle East was one of just two regions in which airlines saw demand growth exceed capacity growth. Part of the rise in year-on-year growth rates in July is owing to the timing of Ramadan, which took place mostly in July 2013, while in 2012, most of the holiday occurred in August. Ramadan typically gives a boost to air freight demand for Middle Eastern carriers, as air transport of perishable foods and gift parcels increases to/from the region.
Latin American carriers' cargo traffic was up 3.1 percent in July compared to a year ago, with capacity up just 1.7 percent. This result was broadly in line with the region's performance during the first seven months of the year, when FTKs rose 3.4 percent. Demand for certain Latin American exports has shown strong growth momentum over recent months, providing a solid foundation for expansion in air freight demand.
African airlines experienced a 4.9 percent contraction in July year-on-year. Despite a relatively supportive demand environment, reflected in the year-to-date FTK growth of 2.2 percent, airlines in the region continue to face intense competition for their product.
Air cargo security program rulemaking expected this fall
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg via CIFFA
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said recently that they have begun writing and hope to publish by the end of this year a proposed rule that would turn the Air Cargo Advance Screening pilot into a mandatory program. The ACAS pilot is a voluntary test used to target high-risk air cargo in which participants submit a subset of the required advance air cargo data to CBP at the earliest point practicable prior to loading the cargo onto aircraft destined to or transiting through the United States. The data elements submitted as part of this pilot include air waybill number, total quantity based on the smallest external packing unit, total weight, cargo description, shipper name and address, and consignee name and address.
Participants must also: (1) mitigate, according to Transportation Security Administration screening protocols, any threat identified by the National Targeting Center; (2) respond promptly with complete and accurate information when contacted by the NTC with questions regarding the data submitted; (3) follow any Do Not Load instructions; and (4) partake in regular teleconferences or meetings established by CBP, when necessary, to ensure that any issues or challenges regarding the pilot are communicated and addressed. The ACAS pilot is currently scheduled to run through Oct. 25.
CBP and industry representatives speaking at a recent meeting of the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations of CBP (COAC) agreed that it is critical to get ACAS "right" as it moves from the pilot into a regulatory mandate. An unsuccessful outcome would not only damage the reputation of ACAS as a "game-changer," they said, but also has the potential to result in negative developments in other countries working on advance data initiatives who are looking closely at the U.S. and ACAS in terms of policy and information technology developments.
Industry representatives added that because mandatory ACAS implementation will require a significant investment of resources by both the private sector and the government it is important that the regulatory solution be operationally feasible, minimize costs while meeting valid security needs, and position ACAS as a legitimate enhancement to what is already a highly-effective, multi-layered framework for securing cargo. CBP officials responded that they don't want mandatory ACAS to disrupt existing business processes and that they will do what they can to make it as flexible and accommodating of as many business models as possible.
Suez Canal security strengthened after failed attack
Arabian Supply Chain via CIFFA
Egypt's armed forces are strengthening security measures in the Suez Canal, following an unsuccessful terrorist attack on a container ship transiting the waterway on Aug. 31. The head of the Suez Canal Authority said the attack apparently aimed to disrupt the flow of ships through the Canal, which — as one of the world's key shipping routes — is secured by the country's armed forces. According to the report, a "terrorist element" targeted a Panama-flagged vessel passing through the waterway. The attempted attack failed completely and there was no damage to the ship or the containers it carried. He added that the situation was dealt with strictly and vessel traffic is moving normally. Meanwhile, the Egyptian Authorities have amended and reduced the hours of the curfew in force with effect from Aug. 31. The curfew is now in force from 2300 to 0600 hours daily, instead of the previous 1900 to 0600 hours. Traffic through the Suez Canal is unaffected by the curfew as the Canal Zone is secured by the military, including land, sea and air patrols.
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