Bubble Chart showing the flow of good in the supply chain
Container ships at the Port of Los Angeles

SoCal Ports Experience Strong Volume Growth in First Quarter 2024t

The SoCal Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach reported a strong start in Container volumes for 2024. The Port of Los Angeles’ first quarter volumes were up 30% from the same period last year, and the Port of Long Beach’s first quarter volumes were up 16% from last year. The Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero stated, “Consumer demand remains strong and continues to drive cargo through this vital gateway for trans-Pacific trade.”

The Port of Portland, OR, announced to shippers that it plans to suspend container operations at the Port as of October 1. The Port’s Container Terminal, currently operated by the Port after third-party Terminal operator ICTSI left in 2017, has lost more than $30 million over the last 3 years and is projected to have a $14 million shortfall this year. With a relatively small consumer market and hurt by ILWU union action and the loss of rail service partner BNSF, which provided rail connection to Seattle and Tacoma, the Port could not establish a long-term lease with a new third-party terminal operator. The Port will continue to handle automobile and breakbulk cargo. Read more in Maritime Executive SoCal Ports and Port of Portland.

Truck driving to Port of Long Beach

Appeal Filed on CA AB5 Independent Contractor Law Ruling

The plaintiffs in a Federal lawsuit attempting to block enforcement of the CA AB5 independent contractor law have filed an appeal to last month’s ruling that lifted the previous injunction on enforcement. The CA Trucking Association (CTA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assoc. (OOIDA) filed the appeal on April 15, 2024, with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to the March ruling by a U.S. District Court that rejected the plaintiffs’ request for a new injunction against AB5.

CA Intermodal Associates, a trucking company in Commerce, CA, with around 30 drivers, announced that it will cease operations after serving the SoCal market for nearly 25 years. Gabriel Chaul, the CEO, stated, “I blame AB5 for the main reasons our company is closing.” “This law has created a hostile operating environment and an environment of unfair competition.” Gabriel Chaul stated that after hiring employee drivers, costs increased by as much as 30%, making it difficult to compete. Read more at FreightWaves Appeal and CA Intermodal Associates.

Vessels in the Panama Canal locks

Panama Canal to Ease Transit Restrictions this Summer

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced a planned easing of restrictions caused by reduced water levels in the canal. The ACP will increase transits from 24 ships per day to 31 as of May 16th and 32 per day as of June 1st. Draft restrictions on the Neopanamax locks will increase from 44 feet to 45 feet as of June 15th. Several ocean carriers have adjusted to current restrictions by transshipping cargo across the isthmus by rail or truck. After a recent increase in rainfall, an optimistic forecast for this summer, and water-saving measures, the ACP is currently easing restrictions and hopes to return to normalized operations of 36 daily transits and a 50-foot draft by 2025. Read More at Maritime Executive.

Maersk warehouse facility in Tijuana Mexico

Maersk Opens New Warehouse Facility in Tijuana for Cross-Border Trade

Ocean carrier company Maersk has announced opening a new warehouse facility in Tijuana, Mexico, for use in cross-border trade. The 30,000 sq. meter (323,000 sq. ft.) facility is located in the Pacifico Industrial Park within 12 miles of the Otay Mesa and San Ysidro border crossings near San Diego, CA. The site is part of the Manufacturing, Maquiladora & Export Services Industry (IMMEX) services program, which provides sorting, storage, crossdocking, value-added services, and order fulfillment. It could operate e-commerce fulfillment operations in the U.S. of low-value Section 321 shipment types with tax exemption benefits. Maersk’s footprint in Mexico spans over 150,000 sq. meters (1.6 million sq. ft), with warehouses in Mexico City and Cuautitlan and depots near the Ports of Lazaro Cardenas and Manzanillo. Mexico was the U.S.’s top trading partner in 2023, surpassing China and Canada. Read More at Maersk.

Greenlane electric charging station for semi trucks

Greenlane to Establish Heavy-Duty Truck EV Charging Corridor in SoCal

Greenlane Infrastructure announced plans to develop a Heavy-Duty Truck Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Corridor in SoCal along Interstate 15, along the 280 miles from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Greenlane, a joint venture between Daimler Truck, NextEra Energy, and BlackRock, plans to establish three initial charging stations 60-90 miles apart at Colton, Barstow, and Baker, enabling day-cab drivers shorter charging sessions at each stop. The Colton site, located at the intersection of I-10 & I-215, is planned to open in late 2024 and will have over 60 chargers, including 400kW DC Fast Chargers and 200kW DC Fast Charger options for long-duration and overnight charging. Read More at Greenlane.

graphic demonstrating WalMart's TMS

Walmart to Offer Its AI-Powered Transportation Management System as a SaaS

Walmart announced that its Transportation Management System (TMS) is now available as a Software as a Service (SaaS). The Artificial Intelligence-Powered “Route Optimization” System, offered by Walmart Commerce Technologies, includes automated trailer load planning and route mapping, backhaul scheduling, and real-time adjustments to maximize trailer utilization and minimize miles traveled and empty miles to ensure product delivery within customer-specified delivery windows. The Walmart TMS competes with other intelligent systems, including Motor Carrier C.H. Robinson’s TMS SaaS “Navisphere Optimizer.” Read more at BusinessWire and C.H. Robinson.