As I prepared the GPI March 2021 state of freight update, the saying “In like a lion and out like a lamb” came to mind. GPI is hoping that holds true for the shipping environment as well. It’s certainly beginning that way!
US & UK PORTS
We’re 3 months into the new year and still seeing delays at US and UK ports. The US west coast continues to struggle with port congestion and delays, particularly in the LAX/LGB ports. Terminal appointments to pickup containers are still difficult to secure and chassis rentals for overland trucking are in high demand. Expect delays, some as long as 2 to 3 weeks, as your goods arrive to these ports.
US East coast ports are fairing a little better and are seeing 5 day dwell times at port. This is still up from 2 to 4 day dwell times. East coast port authorities are keeping a close eye on the incoming volume so they don’t run into the major congestion occurring on the west coast. The east coast’s most significant delays are due to the continued chassis shortages in the US.
Southern US ports are seeing delays as well, especially this week as the Texas weather has slowed overland trucking significantly.
Ports in the UK are also experiencing major delays for the same reasons the US ports are with the added trouble of customs declaration delays due to Brexit. The UK’s biggest port, Felixstowe is catching the brunt of the congestions causing freight forwarders to move their shipments to other ports of call such as Southampton and Rotterdam.
Air shipments are still experiencing outrageously high prices. This trend is expected to continue until restrictions begin to lift and port congestion begins to clear.
THE GOOD NEWS
Our March state of freight update does have a positive future outlook: as vaccines for Covid-19 become more readily available, restrictions will loosen and there will be more manpower to clear the gridlock ports are now experiencing. We can still expect to see the congestion at ports to continue, at least for the next few months, but we’re hoping to see the situation begin to ease as vaccinations roll out. Perhaps March will go “out like a lamb” as the saying states. We certainly hope so!
I’m always free to discuss your freight questions or concerns. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to GPI’s Freight Department!