Severe drought has caused water levels in the Mississippi River to drop so low that ships have been running aground. To keep commerce flowing, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is now using a dredge ship to push out silt in the river near Vicksburg, Mississippi. About 90% of traded goods are carried over water, and maritime trade volume is expected to triple by 2050 as demand increases. This shift comes as shipping is at increasing risk from tropical storms, inland flooding, sea level rise, drought and extreme heat. The impacts of climate change on ports alone, from damage to disruption, could cost the shipping industry up to $10 billion annually by 2050 and up to $25 billion per year by 2100, according to the RTI study, which was reviewed by the Environmental Defense Fund.

Owners and charterers desperate to get their ships through a drought-hit Panama Canal have driven transit slot auction prices to a new record. Fearnley Securities reported that on Monday, bidding for a crossing was concluded at a whopping $2.85m. VLGCs could be squeezed out as Panama Canal transits set to halve by February. This compares with a normal booking fee of about $900,000 and beats the previous highest price of $2.6m from November last year. An Asian charterer was linked to that bid. Ships had been paying up to $2.4m so far in 2023. The Panama Canal Authority, known as the ACP, offers one or two vacant crossing times through the neo-panamax locks to the highest bidder each day. The auctions are generally won by LNG or LPG carriers.

Truck fleet trade group the American Trucking Associations (ATA) today called on the governors of every state to prioritize the expansion of truck parking facilities with their infrastructure spending budget priorities. In a letter sent to every governor, ATA and the state trucking associations who are its members spelled out the available resources provided by the federal government, including new funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, to improve and expand truck parking facilities. “Construction of new truck parking capacity at rest areas or adjacent to private facilities is eligible for funding, as are improvements that allow for increased parking capacity at nontraditional locations, such as weigh stations and commuter lots, when appropriate. Some states have already utilized these resources to increase parking capacity or improve the operational efficiency of existing facilities,” the letter said.

Flexport acquired Convoy’s tech stack for an undisclosed sum, according to a Wednesday blog post, and plans to restore the company’s shuttered full truckload offering in the coming weeks. As part of the deal, the forwarder will retain a “small group” from Convoy’s core product and engineering teams, but neither the full business nor any of the truck broker’s liabilities, Flexport Founder and CEO Ryan Petersen said in a published note to employees. The acquisition comes just weeks after Convoy shut down, unable to find a buyer. Shortly after the closure, Convoy Co-founder and CEO Dan Lewis said on LinkedIn he was “working on a deal that will include some of the Convoy team and our tech/services.”

That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend and the song of the week, Now and Then by the Beatles.

The post This Week in Logistics News (October 28 – November 3) appeared first on Logistics Viewpoints.