Market Conditions – Capacity became easier to secure following Golden Week - unless you were trying to import from India to the West Coast, any origin in Asia requiring transshipment or any destination other than Southern California and a couple of East Coast ports. The Gulf Coast and inland rail destinations are still difficult to secure and continue to require extremely high premium rate levels.
In our last update, we expected Golden Week vessels that left Asia completely full would create more chaos upon arrival at the ports due to lack of yard capacity, chassis shortage, limited trucker availability and more. We are now seeing the Southern California situation deteriorate further. As terminals limit the return of empties and trucking companies’ decreasing capacity for yard storage, dray carriers are now dropping containers on residential and commercial streets still on top of chassis. The result, more costs to the importer as daily per-diem and chassis costs continue to accrue and further limiting the supply of available chassis. The good news is rail dwell times have drastically fallen with majority of containers departing under a week.
Market Rates – A couple carriers increased their FAK rates on November 1st including ONE, EMC and ZIM while HAPPAG Lloyd significantly increased origin arbitrary costs which can be viewed as a general rate increase in ways. The rate increases ranged from ZIM at $438 per 40’ to USEC ports to ONE at $1,000 per 40’ to both USWC and USEC ports. Most ocean carriers announced another round of substantial rate increases for December 1st in anticipation that port congestion, coupled with increasing demand prior to Chinese New Year will provide additional opportunity to push through higher rates. It’s a bit early to say if rates will start creeping back up however, we believe it’s likely that the market will not see further downward rate pressure for the remainder of the year on most Transpacific Eastbound sub-trades.
Dray Capacity at Breaking Point – We know the situation is critical when even truck brokers are limiting new quotes due to the lack of trucking capacity in certain markets. The most difficult markets are obviously Long Beach/ Los Angeles, Savannah, and New York. The New York market will become even more challenging with the OCEAN Alliance announcement suspending direct service into the port of Boston through at least February, placing additional stress on truck capacity as NY/NJ ports will have to service the New England market for the next few months.
November Blank Sailings – Recent market intelligence indicates approximately 38 blank sailing notifications through the end of year and most fear this number will continue to grow due to port congestion not improving anytime soon. It’s uncertain right now if the market will see a seasonal peak before Chinese New Year, however with Southern California a complete disaster, expectations are EC and PNW capacity to remain extremely tight.