As we breeze into May 2021, we continue to experience the effects of 2020. Container and sailing prices are at the highest in history as demand for space skyrockets. Here is the breakdown of the state of freight this month.
HONG KONG AND CHINA PORTS
Ports in both China and Hong Kong are continuing to experience container shortages. This is resulting in blank sailings and rolling sail schedules. It is increasingly difficult to secure space on any sailing these days. Expect delays at origin, even if you have a sail date. This date will not be set in stone unless you’ve booked a premium sailing. Many forwarders are offering premium sailings now which guarantee a confirmed “NO ROLL” sail schedule. Premium sailings come at a high price. Expect to pay at least $2000 over the skyrocketing ocean vessel prices for a premium sailing.
US ports both west and east coast are experiencing delays upon arrival. We are still seeing 2-to-4-week delays at the west coast. The east coast is faring slightly better with about 1-to-2 week delays. We can expect to see this timeframe rise a little as the vessels involved in the Suez canal blockage begin arriving at port.
TRUCKS, TRAINS, and PLANES
The delays at ports are also intensified by the lack of chassis and truckers available to move containers. Containers leaving directly from port to door have a better chance at making it to their destinations in a timely manner. Containers destined to travel by train will have a wait ahead of them as train stations struggle to keep up with the volume of arriving containers.
Air freight is also at an all time high. Just shipping a small amount of packages can cost a hefty sum. If you can do without shipping air, you will be better off.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Try to be patient when shipping your goods. Anticipate delays at all ports of call and work with your forwarder to avoid hot spots. (TIP: Ship to Tacoma instead of LAX) These conditions are expected to continue through the rest of the year. Ship early if you can and expect at least a 55 day port-to-door transit time to account for delays.