- Shipments from Asia to the U.S. West Coast saw an increase in on-time performance in September.
- Maersk CEO Vincent Clerc warned that the carrier company faced a “pretty dire situation” amid job cuts.
- The National Retail Federation said they expect U.S. holiday spending to grow by 3% to 4% this year.
- Jacksonville Port Authority saw a cargo volume increase of 16% in September.
- Breakbulk cargo shippers are concerned about a lack of investments to serve their needs at U.S. port facilities.
Asia to U.S. West Coast Route Sees Reliability Increase, East Coast Slightly Falls
Shipments from Asia to the U.S. West Coast saw an increase in on-time performance in September, although East Coast reliability decreased slightly, amid restrictions in the Panama Canal.
According to data from the newest Global Liner Performance report by Sea-Intelligence, 47.8% of the services from Asia to the U.S. West Coast arrived on schedule, which is up from 44.6% in August.
On the East Coast, on-time arrivals in September were 38.7%, which is a small downward shift from 39.4% in August.
Global schedule reliability increased by 1.2 percentage points in September to 64.4%, the report states. And, of the top 14 carriers, 13 of them have recorded double-digit improvements year over year.
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Maersk Announces Thousands Of Job Cuts
During a third-quarter results presentation on Nov. 3, Maersk CEO Vincent Clerc warned that the carrier company faced a “pretty dire situation” while looking ahead at 2024.
An additional 3,500 job cuts were also announced, adding to the 6,500 jobs that it had already eliminated this year.
“If Q4 does not deliver some kind of improvement [in profitability], we are looking at a pretty dire situation in 2024,” Clerc said on the call.
He also said the company’s strategy and goals will remain the same.
“If there was ever an environment illustrating why we must continue to diversify our revenue and build closer partnerships with our customers, this environment is absolutely it,”Clerc said.
U.S. Holiday Spending to Increase in 2023, National Retail Federation Predicts
The National Retail Federation said they expect U.S. holiday spending to grow by 3% to 4% over 2022, reaching record levels.
In an early November press release, the NRF predicted the historical holiday sales will reach between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion.
“It is not surprising to see holiday sales growth returning to pre-pandemic levels,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in the press release. “Overall household finances remain in good shape and will continue to support the consumer’s ability to spend.”
The NRF also said that it expects online and other non-store sales to increase between 7% and 9%, totaling between $273.7 billion and $278.8 billion.
“Consumers remain in the driver’s seat, and are resilient despite headwinds of inflation, higher gas prices, stringent credit conditions and elevated interest rates,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in the release.
Cargo Volumes See Double-Digit Jump At Jacksonville Port In September
Jacksonville Port Authority saw a cargo volume increase of 16% in September, as new container services and the upsizing of vessels drove the growth.
A spokesperson from the Jacksonville Port broke down the reasons to the publication Supply Chain Dive.
“The primary drivers of the growth are the addition of two new European container services (MSC and Ellerman City Liners), as well as the additional capacity created by the upsizing of vessels on the EC5 Asian service,” the spokesperson told Supply Chain Dive. “In addition to these growth areas, our other trade lanes have also remained consistent.”
Breakbulk Cargo Shippers Worried About Lack Of Space At U.S. Ports
Breakbulk cargo shippers are concerned that a lack of investments to serve their needs at U.S. port facilities will create challenges, according to reporting by the Journal of Commerce.
Director of global distribution and supply chain services at Georgia-Pacific, Milind Balaji, told the Journal that leaders in the breakbulk sector are worried that the lack in investments will challenge whether the available port capacity is enough, especially as new energy projects continue to be added.
“Ports have a history of being complacent,” Balaji said. “There is a shortage of breakbulk handling capacity now along the East Coast. Wind turbines, solar panels, [and] oil and gas equipment all take up a lot of space. With so many off- and onshore renewable projects planned, those in the breakbulk sector have been asking ourselves that very question: Is there enough port capacity?”
Balaji said that some ports “are more accommodating towards breakbulk cargoes,” as several have been developing with new container facilities in mind, after the pandemic-related container-shipping jump.
This has led Georgia-Pacific to use breakbulk-friendly smaller ports. Balaji called the Panama City port “a diamond in the rough.”