Why It’s Nearly Impossible to Get on a Ship Right Now – Part 2

Following up on our blog from last week, (WHY IT’S NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO GET ON A SHIP RIGHT NOW…), we want to continue to keep you advised on what’s going on within the TPEB trade with additional intent to provide a view into the reality of what’s happening on the ground, at ports, terminals and rail ramps.

We get updates every single day about delays, skipped ports in the rotation, blank sailings, and equipment inventories in most locations in Asia.  While it’s difficult to standardize all these alerts, we wanted to share with you one example that speaks to what your suppliers and our teams overseas are dealing with every day as we try every way possible to keep your supply chain moving.  So, when you hear “there is no space” or “we can’t get any space” it’s entirely about capacity.  As long as ships are stuck in places like Long Beach, Oakland, Savannah, and other US ports, the challenging situation in Asia will continue simply because the ships aren’t returning to the Asian origin ports on time.  And we are not talking about days, we are experiencing weeks for the vessels to return.

To provide a granular example of this, here is an update from Xingang (Tianjin Office) regarding just one carrier, OOCL:

Equipment Inventory:

  • 20’: Normal
  • 40’: Deficit
  • HQ: Extreme Deficit

Equipment Release Policy:

  • Space protection list and/or Premium service only

Feeder Vessel Schedule Update:

  • COSCO FOS 2113 delay from April 2 to April 10
  • COSCO FOS 2114 blanked sailing
  • COSCO FOS 2115 delay from April 9 to April 20
  • COSCO FOS 2116 delay from April 16 to April 30

Mother Vessel Schedule Update:

  • CSCL EAST CHINA SEA 043 delay from March 22 to April 10
  • CSCL SPRING 040 delay from March 29 to April 24
  • CSCL SUMMER 040 blanked sailing
  • CSCL YELLOW SEA 037 delay from April 12 to April 30

This clearly does not paint a very rosy picture. Though only one example, it represents the stark reality of what all importers are facing now and will continue to face for some time.  With feeder delays ranging from one to two weeks and mother vessels anywhere from two to four weeks, total delays out of Asia are approaching six week delays – and that is just to get on board a vessel, this does not include actual ocean transit time to destination ports and the potential anchor/dwell time that awaits once the container gets there.

Together with our partners in Asia we are constantly working to find our clients solutions for their cargo. In this environment it is reasonable to get frustrated, we know, we are feeling it also. But, again, the reality is, there are, and will be significant delays for some time – so you must plan for them. Fast track your internal decision making on Premium services. When space opens up, even on Premium services, it is taken in hours, not days – so put in place “Yes” triggers with your partners in Asia so they don’t have to wait a day or two for your decision.  Provide forecasts to your supply chain partners and update them often. For additional suggestions on what you can manage this chaotic time period please check out our earlier blog - SIX STEPS TO SUCCESSFULLY NAVIGATE THIS YEAR’S CONTRACT SEASON