Busy Time For Freight, Challenges Left From 2020
January 14, 2021

Happy New Year! As we jump right into 2021, we face challenges left over from the end of 2020.  It is a very busy time for freight, more so than previous years.  Chinese New Year is almost upon us and goods are quickly being pushed out of Asian factories to make the late January cutoff before the holiday begins on February 12.  Below is the state of freight as we see it today.

Container shortages and rolling sail schedules continue to be a challenge as ports and forwarders scramble to get goods on the water.  We are seeing an uptick in delayed sail schedules.  Due to the busy time in freight, depart dates and vessel changes are common now and ports are seeing a high volume of goods trying to claim the sailings that are still available.   In about 15 – 30 days, these shipments will begin arriving in the US.  Prepare for continued delays at US ports as these shipments come to port.

Port and rail ramp congestion as well as lack of truck chassis’ continues to plague ports, carriers, railroads, and truckers throughout the United States.  Expect your shipments to be delayed when they arrive at US ports due to this congestion.

West coast ports are past maximum capacity causing container chassis shortages and rising storage fees resulting in excessive detention and demurrage fees from carriers.  Arriving vessels are waiting anywhere from 10-14 days just to berth at port at LAX and LGB.  Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma are faring slightly better with up to 3 day delays. The largest problem for the west coast is truck chassis are in short supply and when they are available, they are having difficulties making appointments to retrieve freight due to the influx of incoming containers and lack of workers.  For you, this means weeks long delays in transit schedules and mounting storage fees.

East coast and southern ports are also experiencing delays, waiting with 3 to 4 days to berth due to delayed vessels arriving late to port.  Container yards at port are almost at full capacity.

Rails running from Chicago to Philadelphia and Newark are extremely tight.  West Coast rails are also experiencing delays due to congestion in the ports of Montreal and Toronto.

In this busy freight time, air transit remains at an all time high due to limited capacity on flights.  It is highly recommended to only use air shipments if the goods you are shipping are imperative.

BREXIT and the UK
What does BREXIT mean for your shipments?  It means more security checks which leads to more delays.  These delays will happen at the borders and will require detailed customs clearance documents to get through.  These documents include clear and detailed commercial invoices and safety data for your goods.  GPI can provide safety testing for your goods before they complete production if we are notified in advance.  Other than the typical port delays, GPI has not experienced many delays due to Brexit.

Please keep in mind that as the vaccines for Coronavirus roll out and restrictions begin to lift, we will start to see ports clearing and, more importantly, your shipments start to move at a normal pace again.  Until then, we are doing our best to keep encouraging ports to move goods as quickly as they are able.  That’s the state of freight today.  Please feel free to email Erin in our freight department if you have any questions or concerns.  Be well.

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