Market Conditions – As a result of ocean carriers and shippers trying to utilize other gateways for discretionary cargo, capacity from China to the US West Coast has improved following the pre-Chinese New Year surge. East and Gulf Coast capacity remains tight with new booking availability pushed out into early April. Fully laden vessels arriving East Coast ports over the last several weeks have been impacting first and last mile operations in NY/NJ ports. Vessel berthing delays in Savannah continue to grow with approximately 9 vessels at anchor as of last Friday.
We have some encouraging news on vessel berthing delays in Southern California. Finally, the number of vessels awaiting berth is starting to decline. Approximately 19 vessels are at anchor which is a reduction of 5 vessels from a week ago. It looks like there may finally be some light at the end of the tunnel. Equipment availability has improved at most China origins while India and Southeast Asia continue to struggle with shortages.
Market Rates – Ocean carriers have extended current rates through the end of March for USWC and USEC ports (excluding Vietnam) while implementing general rate increases on select intermodal destinations. Vietnam is still the most problematic origin for securing capacity. This is forcing shippers with urgent of shipments to use the premium service options available in the market. We expect rates to remain steady through the remainder of March and quite possibly through April.
Ocean Carriers Restrict Intermodal Volume via LGB/LAX – To help ease terminal congestion in Southern California, some carriers are restricting new intermodal bookings effective March 15th. COSCO lines originally announced the suspension of approximately 10 intermodal locations within their network. This was followed by another announcement of the temporary suspension of 5 additional intermodal destinations including Fort Worth and Kanas City. This comes as a surprise since both destinations are primarily supported via intermodal rail from Long Beach and Los Angeles. Other destinations, such as Memphis and Chicago, were also included in the temporary suspension of service. These suspensions, while helping to ease congestion in Southern California, will add additional pressure on the Pacific Northwest gateways for destinations such as Chicago and Memphis.
NY/NJ Bottleneck – The recent announcement of the temporary closure an off terminal empty container depot due to maximum capacity is causing all sorts of local operational issues. Dray carriers have been asked to return empty containers to other nominated empty depots or hold at their own yards until empties can be returned to the port terminal. The resulting delays will cost shippers additional expenses on chassis and yard storage while truckers try their best to stay on top of pending delivery orders. Chassis are also in short supply due to the longer turn times on equipment. Nothing’s easy nowadays when it comes to International shipping.
For over 70 years, Laufer Group International Ltd. has been helping customers improve the way they handle their logistics. To see how we can help, or for any questions, contact Brian Martorano, National Director of Business Development, Ocean Import or contact your local sales representative.