ILWU Canada and BCMEA reach labour agreement ending uncertainty

Just a few short months after labour negotiations wreaked havoc on the US west coast, industrial action on the Canadian west coast brought operations to a standstill. However, negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada (ILWU) and the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) have ended after an agreement was ratified last Friday.

The disagreement between the union and the employers’ coalition lasted over a month, with experts estimating that billions of dollars worth of trade had been disrupted as a result of the strikes. Over 30 ports, including Vancouver and Prince Rupert, two of the country’s busiest maritime gateways, which handle 20% of the country’s cargo flows.

While the new labour agreement has quelled the potential for more disruption from strike action, it will take time to ease congestion on the Canadian west coast. Yard utilisation at Vancouver currently stands at 95%, and it is expected to continue growing, meanwhile, dwell time is at 7 days.

With the current economic climate it is prudent to keep on top of ongoing and future labour negotiations, to ensure mitigation strategies are in place in case disruption arises.



  • Typhoon Kanu has caused delays for ports in eastern China.
    • The average berth time at Ningbo is currently 1.5 to 3 days.
    • Latest reports indicate that empty container pick-up and drop-off has been halted since the 3rd August, while operations laden containers will proceed as normal.
    • Delays are anticipated for shipments from Ningbo as operations are scaled back.
  • It is anticipated that China’s export figures for July will reflect another month of contraction.
    • According to a poll conducted by Reuters, the median forecast from 28 economists estimates a 12.5% fall in outbound shipments from a year earlier.  In June, there was a 12.4% contraction. 
    • This coincides with a fourth straight month of falling activity levels for factories in China. 


Central China to USA and Europe 

  • From SHA to Europe and the US, rates have risen slightly.
    • Ongoing C-Checks (aircraft compliance checks) have resulted in some flight rescheduling and cancellations; however, due to low cargo volume, rates have only risen slightly.
  • From NGB to Europe and the US, rates have remained stable. 
    • The final rate is offered on a case-by-case basis.

North China to USA and Europe:

  • From TSN to Europe and the US, rates have remained mostly stable this week.
    • Rates for Asiana flights have increased though.
  • From PEK to Europe and the US, rates have remained stable this week. 
    • Adverse weather conditions could potentially cause some delays this week.
  • From TAO to Europe and the US, rates have remained stable this week.

South China to USA and Europe:

  • From CAN to Europe and the US, rates have remained stable this week. 
    • All shipments will need to be checked with the carrier for rates on a case-by-case basis.
  • From SZX to Europe, rates have remained stable, while to the US, rates have decreased slightly. 
    • All shipments will need to be checked with the carrier for rates on a case-by-case basis.
  • From XMN to Europe and the US, rates have remained stable. 
    • All shipments will need to be checked with the carrier for rates on a case-by-case basis.


  • US imports from China were down by 24% in the first 5 months of 2023 when compared with the same period in 2022.
    • This fall has been attributed to a global slowdown in trade in the face of economic headwinds and political tension between the two nations.
    • Reshoring has been growing amongst US importers with Mexico usurping China as the US’s largest trading partner earlier this year. 
    • While there has been increasing discourse surrounding a Western powers shift away from sourcing products from China, countries such as Germany and France have remained fairly steady. 


  • The International Longshore and Warehouse Canada (ILWU) and the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) have ratified a new labour agreement, ending weeks of uncertainty. 
    • This is the third proposed agreement between the ILWU and BCMEA, with the first two being rejected by the ILWU membership. 
    • It is estimated that the dispute between the BCMEA and ILWU disrupted billions of dollars worth of trade, with 30 ports impacted.
    • Following the agreement, it is anticipated that delays will be ongoing as the backlog of ships continues to be processed.


  • Here is an update on operations at UK ports
    • Southampton Port is operating with no delays currently and yard levels stand at 55-60%. 
    • London Gateway Port is experiencing minimal delays due to expansion construction with yard levels at  50-55% utilisation. 


  • The RHA is to meet with UK government officials regarding the Windsor Framework.
    • The RHA is seeking clarity on the new framework from the government, regarding how the scheme will work in practise 
    • Chief among the concerns are how the red and green light system will operate and how the Trusted Trader Scheme will operate.

European Bank Holidays

We anticipate a shortage of availability and the occurrence of delays around the bank holiday periods. Plan ahead and allow extra time for your products to be delivered.

Aug 7 – Ireland (Eire)

Aug 14 – Romania*

Aug 15 – Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Germany*, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain

Aug 20 – Estonia, Hungary

Aug 29 – Slovakia

Sep 1 – Slovakia

Sep 2 – Spain*

Sep 4 – Luxembourg*

Sep 6 – Bulgaria

Sep 8 – Malta, Spain*

Sep 11 – Spain*

Sep 15 – Slovakia, Spain*

Sep 18 – Switzerland*

Sep 20 – Germany*

Sep 21 – Malta

Sep 22 – Bulgaria

Sep 24 – Austria*

Sep 25 – Switzerland*

Sep 27 – Belgium*, North Cyprus

Sep 28 – Czech Republic

Oct 1 – Cyprus, San Marino

Oct 3 – Germany

Oct 5 – Portugal

Oct 9 – Spain*

Oct 10 – Austria*

Oct 12 – Spain

Oct 23 – Hungary

Oct 26 – Austria

Oct 28 – Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece

Oct 30 – Ireland (Eire)

Oct 31 – Germany*, Slovenia

Nov 1 – Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany*, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain

Nov 2 – Belgium*, Lithuania

Nov 4 – Finland, Sweden

Nov 9 – Spain*

Nov 11 – Austria*, Belgium, France, Poland

Nov 15 – Austria*, Belgium*

Nov 17 Friday Czech Republic, Slovakia

Nov 18 – Croatia, Latvia

Nov 20 – Latvia

Nov 22 – Germany*

Nov 30 – Romania

*Not in all regions

The route ahead

The information that is available in the Weekly Market Update comes from a variety of online sources, partners and our own teams. Click below to learn more about how Zencargo can help make your supply chain your competitive advantage.

Get In Touch