Point Global Logistics News of the Week – 10.14.22

Mississippi River levels are dropping too low for barges to float

The Mississippi River is flowing at its lowest level in at least a decade, and until rain relieves a worsening drought in the region, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain water levels high enough to carry critical exports from the nation’s bread basket.

Areas of persistent and developing drought stretch across much of the Mississippi basin, which itself covers 41 percent of the contiguous United States. Though record-setting storms caused catastrophic flooding in parts of the watershed this summer, the past few months have been among the driest on record in parts of the Heartland, at a time of year when river levels are normally hitting their low points. And long-term forecasts suggest that unusually dry weather is likely to continue.

Freight Labor Unrest Is Going Global and Weighing on Supply Chains

From seaport docks in Los Angeles and Liverpool to rail yards in Chicago and warehouses in Europe and the U.S., clashes between cargo workers and management have been rising this year, adding complications and uncertainty to the flow of goods around the world.

A two-week strike that dockworkers at the U.K.’s Liverpool port launched Tuesday is the latest in a series of walkouts to hit the country’s transportation networks, and follows an agreement in the U.S. last week that averted a potential nationwide freight rail strike hours before it was set to begin.

US container imports expected to fall as freight rates hit multi-year lows

The rise and rise of reefer freight rates means fewer choices on supermarket shelves as some perishable products are priced out of the market.

Furthermore, a lack of available containers is creating “tough times” for many reefer shippers and their import partners, according to a reefer market update by DHL Global Forwarding.

It said: “A lot of places in the world at the moment lack reefer equipment. Additionally, dry container rates keep increasing to levels above reefer containers. As a result, shipping lines allocate space rather to dry instead of reefers.