There’s a good deal going on with freight this March. Let’s not lallygag with niceties and get right into what’s affecting your shipments this month.
Many companies have halted business with Russia this month as the UKRANIAN / RUSSIA war escalates. Ocean carriers included. Most carriers, including Maersk and CMA CGM, have stopped making calls at all Russian ports. Shipping to Russia has come to a standstill for products ranging from smartphones to sneakers and everything in between. There are a few exceptions such as medical supplies, food, and humanitarian supplies, but even small carriers including FedEx, DHL, and UPS have halted all shipments into Russia. Goods that were already on the water when the conflict started were still making calls to Russian ports, but these goods could be sitting at Russian ports for some time as there is very little way to transport the goods to their destinations. GPI is keeping on top of the shipping situation and will keep you posted with any updates on the situation.
The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has hit Hong Kong hard and fast in the past two weeks. They are currently averaging 50,000 cases DAILY. Courier and trucking services, which deliver your goods to ports and local warehouses, are refusing to transport due to lack of workers and pandemic fears. Many factories are experiencing reduced labor due to major outbreaks. Some factories are even being forced to close for days for deep cleaning. Travel restrictions between Hong Kong and China have tightened significantly causing more delays for deliveries between the two countries as well as deliveries to ports. Expect delays at origin. Rolling, cancelled or blank vessel schedules, missed port calls and longer than usual local deliveries as ocean carriers and local couriers arrange shipments to adjust to this exploding viral outbreak.
West Coast ports continue to struggle with crippling congestion. Long Beach, LAX, and Vancouver are seeing the longest delays with vessel wait times between 11 to 36 days. Even ports such as Oakland and Prince Rupert are seeing 10 to 14 day delays. Contract renewal talks are due to begin soon between the International Longshore & Warehouse Union workers and their employers, led by the Pacific Maritime Association. These negotiations affect about 15,000 west coast workers and 70 ocean carriers and terminals and it is thought that the longer the discussions take place, the more the west coast port operations will suffer.
East Coast ports are fairing far better with 1 – 2 day vessel wait times at Savanna, Miami, NYC, and Maryland.
Plan for your goods to experience some delays upon US arrival to account for port congestion.
US Rail and Trucking
Railyards are still experiencing some delays as they try to keep goods moving. Three to 9 day delays at the rail are expected before goods are on the move again. Chassis shortages are still an issue for both truckers and rail workers. Truck chassis are being tied up at container return stations which is delaying quick turnaround times for truckers. Trucker convoys who have been protesting against mask and vaccine mandates continue to fight their cause from Canada through the US, however, we at GPI have not experienced any shipping delays caused by these protests. The chassis shortage continues to be the biggest challenge railyards and ocean terminals have when it comes to moving freight within the US.