Unitrans Newsletter | Edition 13 | February 20, 2015
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In Edition 13:
ILWU and PMA update
Intermodal Growth
> U.S. Exports Reach $2.35 Trillion in 2014
Canadian Rail Update
New International Trade Crossing
> Links of the Week
International Holiday 

Links of the Week


Association of American Railroads 2015 Outlook 


ILWU and PMA Update

Following the halt of vessel loading and unloading over President's Day weekend, the Obama Administration dispatched Labor Secretary, Thomas Perez, to San Francisco earlier this week to join the labor contract negotiations. It has been reported that Perez has given the ILWU and PMA until today, February 20, to reach a contract deal or negotiations will be moved to Washington D.C. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker also joined the contract negotiations in southern California late this week.

Port of Oakland terminal operations halted yesterday, February 19, due to the union's monthly stop work meeting. The meeting is regularly scheduled, however, it is typically held during the second shift. Since it was held during the first shift, gate, yard and vessel work did not take place yesterday. Normal port operations are expected to resume today, February 20.

As contract negotiations resumed on Tuesday, February 17, the Marine Exchange of Southern California reported 22 containerships at anchor in the San Pedro Bay. Some of the busiest West Coast ports have reported substantial volume declines for the month of January year-over-year. The Port of Oakland disclosed that total container volumes dropped 32 percent in January compared to last year. The Port of Long Beach also announced that container cargo volumes were down 18.8 percent in January year-over-year. Additionally, the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma stated their combined container volumes fell 13 percent in January compared to 2014.

Intermodal Growth

The Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) reported a 4.8 percent volume increase in 2014 and expects 2015 numbers to replicate similar gains. Experts credit the increases to a boost in consumer spending due to lower oil prices and a strengthening U.S. dollar. International, domestic containers and trailers all increased in year-over-year comparisons for the first time in three years. International posted a 4.4 percent expansion, domestic containers increased 5.7 percent and trailer volumes rose 2.9 percent in 2014.

U.S. Exports Reach $2.35 Trillion in 2014

The Department of Commerce announced that U.S. exports set a record for the fifth consecutive year in 2014, reaching $2.35 trillion. U.S. goods exports increased 2.7 percent to a record $1.64 trillion in 2014. Key industry sectors included capital goods, consumer goods, petroleum products, foods, feeds, beverages and automotive vehicles and parts. In 2014, the largest export markets for the U.S. goods were Canada, Mexico and China. Goods exports to the 20 economies that have trade agreements with the U.S. reached a record $765.1 billion, an increase of 4.3 percent from 2013. Service exports hit an all-time high of $710.3 billion, led by increases in the travel, transport, charges for the use of intellectual property and financial services sectors.

Canadian Rail Update
Following the end to a strike between the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) and Canadian Pacific (CP) Railway on Monday, February 16, another Canadian rail disruption is emerging. Unifor, a Canadian union, representing approximately 4,800 Canadian National (CN) Rail employees in mechanical, intermodal, clerical and other areas, has rejected an offer to reach a new collective agreement with CN. Unifor has demanded that CN contribute cash to the union's political and community action fund, however, CN stated it is not prepared to support such a union agenda. The union stated yesterday, February 19, that it will begin strike votes at CN early next week. Unifor will set a strike deadline close to the end of March to allow CN customers to make alternative arrangements.

New International Trade Crossing
On Wednesday, February 18, the United States and Canadian governments signed an arrangement to proceed with the construction of a new publicly-owned bridge linking Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario. Lisa Raitt, Canada's Minister of Transport said that the new bridge, "will provide a much-needed crossing alternative at one of the busiest commercial border crossings in North America and support national security and public safety priorities in Canada and the U.S." In 2014, annual trade in goods through all Ports of Entry between Canada and the U.S. was approximately $658 billion.

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