Happy New Year from the freight department at GPI. We’re excited to start this year off and so far, it’s already showing us that the challenges from 2021 are still front and center.
HK & CHINA PORTS
It’s very busy right now in the Hong Kong and China ports due to the pre-CNY rush. In Hong Kong, it’s very difficult to find vessel space before CNY and there is no more room on feeder vessels that transport containers to larger China ports for transshipment. Ports such as Shenzhen are also very busy getting containers loaded and on their way. We will see this activity slow down in the next few weeks as more factories shut down and workers make their way home to their families for CNY celebrations.
US WEST COAST
The US West Coast is still seeing major congestion and long wait times. The average wait time for container ships arriving at LAX/LGB is 23 days and that’s just to pull in and unload (berth). Containers on those ships still need to be picked up and trucked or trained to their destinations. 105 container vessels were waiting to berth off the LAX/LGB coast as of Friday 1/7. Wait times are much less as you travel to the Northwest ports of Vancouver, Seattle, Oakland, and Prince Rupert which are seeing 6 – 10 day wait times. Any way you look at it, this puts a major strain on the supply chain both in Asia and in the US. This is also the reason for rising container costs and blank or rolling vessel schedules in Asia. Expect delays when shipping to LAX/LGB, as well as possible storage/demurrage fees once the container is released from port.
US EAST COAST
The US East Coast has done much better than the West Coast in regard to managing the vessels coming through their ports. The new strain of the pandemic has knocked the NYC/NJ port slightly off schedule with container vessels waiting offshore for an average of about 4 days before being called in to berth. As of Friday 1/9, there were between 9 and 11 container vessels waiting anchored off shore. A far cry from the 105 vessels off the West Coast.
West Coast rail to Chicago is still struggling with congestion buildup from the West Coast but continues to step up to the challenge. GPI has experienced little to no delays with the train to Chicago. Containers have been picked up as soon as they arrive and are delivered to their destinations within days.
We hope that the small break for CNY will help to alleviate some of the major congestion on the West Coast, but only time will tell. Stay tuned next month for a post CNY update.