Nov 10

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It’s a Nice Day for a White Wedding, It’s a Nice Day to Start Again

6 minute read
Houston, Texas. View from city docks

This upcoming weekend marks the very first Port X Logistics wedding. Congratulations to Leadership team member and Savannah, GA Terminal Manager Tyler Pulbrook and his soon to be wife Stacy. We will fill up the Port X Logistics social media in the upcoming week with stories and shenanigans of the special day – stay tuned! 

I never knew why they called them Wisdom teeth until last week. I had my wisdom teeth removed and the surgery last week was painnnfulll. Mouth pain is a real pain, you can’t eat, you can’t sleep, you can’t even think straight. I was told by my dentist when I was a young teen that it is “possible” my wisdom teeth will all grow in with no crowding or shifting issues, but he also advised that I should get them removed before they fully grew in. It would be a lot less painful. Really what teenager would agree to surgery if it was an option? Not teenage me, nope. My parents didn’t give me very many options before I was an adult, so naturally I chose the option that they went against, my first taste of being a rebel. Thanks teenage Jill for temporarily ruining adult Jill’s life. Parents – it is “Wise” to not always let your kids have options involving their “Wisdom” teeth.  

I hope everyone is having a great week, and my little story with a really bad Dad Joke ending made your day. Let’s talk Market and how November is coming along.

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employee Division announced November 9th that it has agreed to extend negotiations with the railroads until at least December 4, the deadline set by another union, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen. Easing the threat of a rail strike for now. 

The rank and file members of both unions have rejected the tentative agreements reached with the railroads in September, mostly over the lack of sick pay in the contracts. “If these unions do not ratify, then we will have the opportunity to bring all of rail labor together, under a single deadline, to finish national negotiations,” said the BMWED’s statement.

If one or both of those contracts are voted down, the BMWED said it is ready to further push its strike date back to December 9. Michael Baldwin, the president of the Signalmen’s union, said on November 9th that he has not yet agreed to move his strike date back from the December 4 date.

The BMWED and Signalmen are engaged in negotiations with railroad management seeking deals that union leaders believe their members would ratify. 

A strike by any one rail union would lead to a shutdown of America’s major freight railroads, as all the other unions, even those that have ratified contracts, would honor the picket lines. That could cause severe economic problems, as 30% of America’s freight moves by rail, when measured by weight and distance traveled.

Diesel supply shortage in the US has been a big topic the past few weeks. Last week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that distillate inventories were at their lowest levels since 2008. (The primary distillates are diesel, jet fuel, and heating oil). However, in 2008 distillate levels were low coming out of spring. Currently, they are low going into fall. That’s far worse than the situation in 2008.

These low distillate inventories are why diesel prices are above $5 USD per gallon nationwide, even though the nationwide average price for gasoline has dropped below $4 USD per gallon.

Some relief is on the way, as some diesel imports are on the way from Europe to the East Coast. However, the distillate market won’t likely return to normal before next summer at the earliest.

TEU volumes decreased a very small amount this week, down 0.5% from last week. Some rail locations are experiencing serious chassis shortages. Dallas and Indianapolis are in a situation where only private owned trucker chassis are able to be used to retrieve grounded containers. September plunge in US imports from Asia signals more declines ahead. US imports from Asia in September decreased 10.4 percent from August to the lowest monthly volume since last December, pointing to the likelihood of further declines in import volumes for the remainder of the year as forecasted by retailers.  

There are many factors that contribute to the import declines. This article from JOC talks about some of the reasons for volume decline, definitely worth reading.

What are the port hardships this week?

Houston Congestion continues, Truck lines have been long and slow getting into the port.  There are pool chassis shortages of both 20’s and 40’s for DCLI, Trac capacity is slightly more abundant but it’s a hit or miss. Drivers have been reporting that once they are in the terminal it is total chaos and lines and traffic are a mess 

Oakland Still faces empty return location hardships with a few steamship lines.  There are some reported instances where empty containers have remained in trucker’s yards for over a week.  Additional chassis charges and additional yard storage charges for shippers and chassis shortages are the outcome of idle empty containers with no return location resolution.  

With AB5 and CARB regulations, many drivers are leaving the industry or the state altogether, which could lead to possible driver shortages in California.  Something to keep a good watch on with how these laws will continue to affect supply chain and driver capacity in the near future

What looks positive this week?

LA/LGB Lower volumes coming into LA/GB has allowed the BNSF in Dallas to clean out their stacked container congestion.  As of Thursday last week there was only 700 containers remaining in stacks within the Dallas BNSF Alliance in Haslet, down from a peak of more than 4,000 in early September 2022.  BNSF Alliance is a wheeled terminal, that means the containers go direct from the crane to a chassis once they have been retrieved from the rail pile.  That could also add to the Dallas chassis shortages. In an article from JOC, BNSF completed a project last month to add 1,100 new parking slots for containers at Alliance, which would provide more flexibility to handle import surges in the future.

Did you know? ​If you want to get goods here for the holiday via ocean it’s too late.  “You missed the boat”. Airfreight is your only option now. Port X Logistics introduced Carrier 911 earlier this year to recover air cargo from airports and handling facilities and expedite to final destinations. We have a combination of sprinters, straight trucks and dry vans that can pick up in just one hour. It will seem impossible…

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