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Port Houston Achieves Record Export Volumes

Port Houston reached a historic high in October with the largest volume of loaded exports ever reported. This notable increase of 6% from the previous year contributed to a 10% growth in year-to-date exports, totaling 1,151,638 TEUs. The exports predominantly comprised resins and chemicals, reinforcing Port Houston’s status as the top resins port in the U.S. and the heart of North America’s largest petrochemical cluster. Despite a 4% drop in loaded imports for October and a 7% decrease year-to-date, total container imports have risen by 32% since pre-pandemic levels, with 3,201,958 TEUs handled in the first ten months of this year.

Black Friday Surge and Yiwu’s Role in Cross-Border E-commerce

This year’s Black Friday in the U.S. saw an unprecedented turnout with over 130 million shoppers, driven by significant discounts and the tradition of early morning queues. Retailers prepared to welcome customers with early openings, and the National Retail Federation anticipated Black Friday to remain the most popular shopping day in the U.S. Meanwhile, Yiwu in China, known for its wholesale business, increasingly focuses on cross-border e-commerce platforms. With the festive season being crucial for exports, many Yiwu-based businesses started shipping as early as May. The rapid delivery times to Western countries, sometimes as quick as four days, have enhanced consumer satisfaction and reduced the pressure on overseas warehouses.

Expansion at Ashcroft Terminal to Ease Vancouver Port Congestion

Ashcroft Terminal and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority have agreed to collaborate on a new railcar storage agreement to alleviate congestion at the Port of Vancouver. This partnership, involving an inland port approximately 186 miles from Vancouver’s marine terminals, will enhance the coordination of transloaded shipments. The initiative includes investing in and operating new rail infrastructure at Ashcroft Terminal, aiming to reduce bottlenecks within Canada’s largest container gateway. This strategic move is expected to streamline operations and support the efficient handling of cargo in the region.

U.S. Coast Guard Alerts on Wood Pellet Fire Risks

The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a safety alert regarding the risk of fires caused by wood pellets, especially in the maritime context. This follows two incidents where hopper barges carrying wood pellets caught fire, each resulting in about $355,000 in damages. The spontaneous combustion of the wood pellets, a risk heightened when moisture content exceeds 15%, was identified as the cause. Hazards contributing to these fires included visible moisture, cargo decay, high cargo hold temperatures, and hazardous gases from decomposition. The Coast Guard recommends measures such as isolating cargo from moisture, planning shorter storage periods, monitoring cargo temperatures, and conducting frequent inspections to prevent similar incidents.

TikTok’s Investment Move in Indonesia and Freight Sector Updates

TikTok is reportedly in talks to invest in Tokopedia, a major e-commerce platform under Indonesia’s GoTo Group, aiming to reboot its e-commerce operations in the Indonesian market. The potential investment, which may be finalized in the coming weeks, could involve a joint venture rather than a direct investment, focusing on overcoming regulatory hurdles to revitalize TikTok’s online shopping services in Southeast Asia’s largest retail market.

Meanwhile, major Internet road freight platforms in China have lowered their commission rates by 1 to 3 percentage points. This move, encouraged by the Ministry of Transport, aims to ensure reasonable compensation for truck drivers, aligning with the industry’s evolving standards and regulations.

Temu Establishes Strategic Partnerships with European Couriers

Temu, seeking to expand its logistics network in Europe, has partnered with three leading courier companies: Poste Italiane in Italy, CTT in Portugal and Spain, and Mail Alliance in Germany. In Italy, Temu’s collaboration with Poste Italiane involves innovative logistics solutions, such as PIN-code-supported storage lockers and local store pickup points, enhancing delivery efficiency across the Italian peninsula. In the Iberian Peninsula, CTT’s extensive network will bolster Temu’s delivery capabilities, while in Germany, Mail Alliance’s large distribution network and workforce will significantly improve Temu’s capacity to distribute bulk goods and expedite logistics.

Kyutai: A New Venture in A.I. Research

CMA CGM Group, together with Iliad Group and Schmidt Ventures, has collectively invested €300 million to launch Kyutai, Europe’s inaugural non-profit A.I. research lab. Kyutai’s mission is to innovate in A.I., particularly in developing large-scale multimodal models and new algorithms to enhance capability, reliability, and efficiency. Utilizing the computational power of Iliad Group’s subsidiary Scaleway, known for its high-performance A.I. applications in Europe, Kyutai aspires to be at the forefront of addressing modern A.I. challenges.

Protest Disrupts Australian Coal Port Operations

Climate activists in Australia disrupted operations at the nation’s largest coal export port, the Port of Newcastle, through a peaceful protest. The group Rising Tide, responsible for the protest, mobilized around 1,500 people, including 300 in kayaks in the shipping channel, to enforce a 30-hour blockade. This action temporarily ceased all shipping movements at the port for safety reasons. Rising Tide’s action aims to highlight the environmental impact of coal exports in the context of Australia’s ongoing debate over its role as a major global coal exporter and carbon emitter.

Highlights of the 2022 Chinese Freight Forwarding Industry Rankings

The China International Freight Forwarding Association (中国国际货运代理协会, CIFA) recently unveiled its 2022 industry data, spotlighting top freight forwarders in China. Key sectors such as ocean and air freight, alongside private enterprises, were featured in their respective top 50 lists, with additional rankings for warehouse and land transport sectors.

The list is based on annual revenue. This year saw China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited maintaining its position at the top, with COSCO Shipping International (Hong Kong) Co., Ltd. in second place. In third place is China Railway International Multimodal Transport Co., Ltd.