This week’s newsletter focuses on some significant logistics trends and updates making waves. Discover how Canadian railway CN prepares for winter amidst new regulations and celebrate Utah's latest inland port. Union Pacific is bridging Mexico and the U.S. Southeast with a groundbreaking intermodal service. Over in Galveston, eco-friendly port operations take center stage with a pioneering shore power initiative. And as the EU shakes up antitrust exemptions, the global container shipping industry braces for change. Let’s dive in.
CN Readies for Winter Amid Regulatory Changes
Canadian railway company CN announced its readiness for the upcoming winter season. While the company is fully equipped to handle low temperatures and heavy snowfall, they're concerned about the potential impact of new federal regulations on rail operations.
Impact of New Federal Regulations
New regulations pose potential challenges to CN's operational capacity and efficiency. Notably, extending interswitching from 30km to 160km and changing duty hours could result in suboptimal resource allocation. Additionally, while CN has steadily increased its operating crew over the past 18 months, the full effect of the regulations remains a "wild card" for the 2023-2024 winter. Moreover, analysis indicates that hundreds of extra personnel, mainly in Western Canada, will be needed to maintain existing service levels.
Winter Preparedness and Lessons from the Past
Despite regulatory uncertainties, CN is committed to ensuring smooth operations this winter. Measures include running shorter trains in extreme cold, adjusting local rail feeder lines, proactive maintenance, and more. Drawing from over 100 winter seasons of experience, CN emphasizes the importance of collaborating closely with supply chain partners. Reflecting on winter 2022-2023, CN highlights the value of anticipating needs and implementing strategies early to maintain network fluidity during cold spells.
Utah Welcomes its Sixth Inland Port
The Utah Inland Port Authority (UIPA) has taken a big step by greenlighting the state's sixth inland port in Beaver County. This new addition, backed by a historical relationship with rail and diverse natural resources, could amplify Utah's logistic capabilities and economy.
What is the Mineral Mountains Project?
On October 5, UIPA's board unanimously approved the Mineral Mountains Park Project. This resolution further consolidates Union Pacific's bond with the region, dating back to 1880. Beaver County is keen on using this project to showcase its natural riches and promote sustainable growth. The new port will host four zones, each designed for specific industries:
- Beaver City Zone (2,070 acres)
- Milford Depot Zone (445 acres)
- Milford Flats Zone (17,115 acres)
- Minersville City Zone (190 acres)
Envisioning a Bright Economic Future
UIPA's new port project, symbolizing its aspiration for sustainable growth and utilization of local resources, seamlessly aligns with Beaver County's forecasted population surge, economic transformation, and focus on renewable energy. Wade Hollingshead, Chairman of Beaver Board of County Commissioners, himself emphasized the port's potential to spur economic growth and strengthen the partnership between Beaver County and UIPA.
Union Pacific Bridges Mexico and U.S. Southeast with New Intermodal Service
Union Pacific is expanding its service horizons by introducing a new intermodal connection between Mexico and the southeastern U.S. This move joins the ranks of other Class I railroads focusing on this key trade corridor.
Details of the New Service
Union Pacific's latest offering will originate from Mexican rail carrier Grupo México, connecting Monterrey in Nuevo Leon and Silao in Guanajuato to cities in the southeastern U.S. Specifically tailored for domestic freight within North America not originating from ports, this service will use 53-foot domestic containers. Union Pacific emphasized that this is the "largest influx of intermodal capacity for the Southeastern U.S. market out of Mexico." It not only showcases UP's commitment to Mexican markets but also aims to reduce highway congestion.
A Growing Trend in Rail Connectivity
This move by Union Pacific follows interest expressed by Norfolk Southern and CSX in enhancing services between Mexico and the southeastern U.S. Several announcements in September from Class I railroads highlighted the expansion of intermodal services across national borders. All these initiatives are seen following the Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern merger in April, signaling a trend towards strengthened rail connectivity across North America.
Port of Galveston Embarks on Shore Power Pilot with $1M Grant
The Port of Galveston, in collaboration with Texas A&M University, has secured a $1 million grant to pioneer shore power for docked ships, marking a significant step towards eco-friendly port operations.
Driving Environmental Initiatives
Awarded by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the grant aims to curb emissions from cargo vessel operations at Galveston Wharves. Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves port director and CEO, highlighted their commitment to air quality, emphasizing how the grant will boost its objective to offer clean shore power to cargo ships. The funds will also facilitate the acquisition of a shoreside microgrid, allowing berthed ships to turn off auxiliary engines—a practice gaining popularity in Europe and already mandatory for some vessels in California.
Looking Ahead: 2024-2025 Pilot and Beyond
Starting in 2024, the Port of Galveston will conduct a feasibility study on this microgrid concept, assessing its environmental impact, efficiency, and energy consumption. Expect to see findings by 2025. If successful, an extended pilot may accommodate more vessels. This move leans on Texas A&M's past work and a 2021 cost-benefit analysis of cold-ironing options. Furthermore, Galveston boasts the world's first "zero-energy" cruise terminal, underlining the port's dedication to sustainability.
Container Shipping Navigates Regulatory Waters after EU Exemption Loss
The global container shipping industry faces a turbulent period ahead as the European Union (EU) decides not to renew a key antitrust protection. This change might reshape the rules underpinning major shipping alliances.
End of an Era: The Consortia Block Exemption Regulation
Initiated in 2009 and extended in 2014 and 2020, the Consortia Block Exemption Regulation (CBER) permitted liner shipping companies to team up in "consortia," but only under certain conditions, like staying under a combined 30% market share. However, the European Commission's Directorate-General for Competition has opted against renewing this exemption, citing changes in the shipping sector that no longer make the exemption suitable for promoting competition.
What’s Next for Shipping Consortia?
The CBER will expire next April, and then general EU antitrust rules will govern shipping consortia. This change won't ban cooperation between shipping lines. Yet, it will put their agreements under the EU's microscope. John Butler, President & CEO of the World Shipping Council, expressed concerns about the impending "period of uncertainty" but affirmed that vessel-sharing agreements would continue to serve European trade efficiently. The Council is actively reviewing the basis for this decision and remains hopeful for clearer future regulatory guidance.
Charting the Course with Vizion API
The world of logistics is always on the move, be it by sea or rail. Whether we're talking about regulatory changes, innovative projects, or shifts in intermodal connectivity, the importance of real-time data and efficient tracking solutions is the common denominator. Vizion API emerges as a game-changer with solutions providing unprecedented clarity and control over freight operations, such as:
- Real-Time Container Tracking Data via API: Ensures end-to-end visibility into the freight that drives your business.
- Port & Terminal Events: Enhances visibility and coordination with Last Free Date alerts and Available for Pickup notifications.
- Intermodal Rail Tracking: Offers seamless tracking of containers transitioning from sea to land with connections to all 7 Class I railways in North America.
- High-Quality Data: Delivers real-time location updates with data refreshed multiple times daily for accurate ETAs.
- Port & Terminal Connections: Direct access to 60+ global ports and terminals, aiding drayage coordination and avoiding demurrage charges.
- Port Performance Monitoring: Helps anticipate delays and make informed supply chain decisions by detailing vessel movements and container gate-out times.
So take control of your shipping future and enter a world of seamless shipping and logistics management. Book a demo with Vizion API today and reap the rewards.