COVID-19 Latest Updates

Carriers Suspend Services to Inland Points Including Minneapolis, Bond Insufficiencies for Importers, and Port of Montreal Workers Go On Strike

By April 29, 2021 No Comments

Ocean  

Some ocean carriers are suspending services to inland points including Minneapolis. While not all carriers are suspending services to Minneapolis, some are, and so this suspension comes on a case-by-case basis. Our Navegate team will attempt to do a booking on behalf of our customers where we will then find out if carriers will accept the booking, and we will relay the information to our customers. Whether this suspension applies to your company, we will work with you to find the best way to receive your shipments. 

Congestion and delays will continue through the month of May. Due to ongoing congestion and strained capacity, shippers will have to consider booking via premium services again in May rather than on standard services. High ocean rates and a lot of rolled shipments are continuing, and importers should book shipments 6-8 weeks in advance. 

South American exporters to North America face delays and cargo rolling. Due to trucker shortages and congestion at U.S. ports, exporters from South America have been encountering delays and cargo rolling. This congestion and delays have led Hapag-Lloyd to temporarily halt bookings for all cargo due to ports on the West Coast from Latin America. 

Customs  

Our team is seeing more bond insufficiencies. This notice is a friendly reminder for importers to actively monitor import volumes. Bond values are based on a 12-month rolling duty and fee total, so monthly changes in import volumes could have a large impact on your bond requirements. Therefore, it’s recommended to be proactive in adjusting bond values before you receive a mandated increase from Customs. If you need help navigating these bond insufficiencies, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experts. 

As India experiences a mass COVID-19 surge, goods coming out of the country may be affected. India has been experiencing very high levels of COVID-19 infections, with a seven-day average of approximately 330,000 cases. Due to these high levels of COVID-19, businesses and ports may be affected in the country. Our team will monitor how this will affect business out of India and keep you updated. 

Ports 

Dockworkers at the Port of Montreal go on strike. This week, Montreal longshore workers began an indefinite strike to protest a schedule change that the maritime employers imposed on the workers. This strike undoubtedly will disrupt supply chains, and the Canadian government has already introduced legislation to force the workers to go back to work. On the other hand, workers at the port have said that federal intervention would disrupt their collective bargaining process, and they would go back to work if the maritime employers agreed to withdraw the schedule change that prompted the strike. Canada’s parliament is expected to debate a bill as early as this weekend that would require the 1,150 dockworkers back to work

Delays at Oakland and Pacific Northwest ports continue, but the gateways remain fluid. Cargo owners who have chosen to divert goods from the congested LA-LB ports to Oakland and Seattle-Tacoma have been experiencing delays, with vessel bunching as the major issue at Oakland. However, the gateways remain fluid, indicating that diverting vessels from LA-LB to Oakland and Seattle-Tacoma haven’t overwhelmed these ports.

Air

Hong Kong relaxes COVID restrictions for cargo pilots. On Friday, April 16, the Hong Kong government relaxed COVID restrictions for fully vaccinated cargo pilots, eliminating the measure that mandated Hong Kong-based aircrews to quarantine after returning home from duty. This measure removes the operational burden for all-cargo airlines. 

Trucking 

Trucking load volumes increase by more than double, straining trucking capacity. In the past week, 1.63 million loads were processed in one 24-hour period. According to Brent Hutto, chief relationship officer at Truckstop.com, the load volumes averaged around 1.4 million all week, contrary to the used-to-be normal amounts of 400,000 to 500,000 daily load volumes. “Historic low inventories combined with high retail demand and a manufacturing recovery are straining capacity across all modes of freight transportation,” according to JOC.com

Rail

Canadian National Railway (CN) discusses merger with Kansas City Southern (KCS). CN will soon be meeting with the board of directors of KCS over its acquisition proposal to construct a rail network that would extend from Canada through the United States and to Mexico. More information about the proposal, as well as the competition between CN and Canadian Pacific (CP) can be found in an article from FreightWaves 

Delays, rail storage fees, and congestion increase as imports move inland via intermodal terminals. Due to a nine-month supply of imports moving from busy U.S. ports to inland terminals, shippers are experiencing more delays and rail storage fees. In major inland hubs such as Dallas, Chicago, Memphis, and Kansas City, record volumes have overwhelmed the chassis supply, further exacerbating the already congested networks.