COVID-19 Latest Updates

Closures at Asian Hubs Disrupt Supply Chains, Congestion Worsens at Southern California Ports, & Shanghai Airport Locks Down

By August 26, 2021 No Comments


Closures at major Asian hubs are stalling supply chains. In China, the Ningbo Port (China’s third busiest port) partially reopened its Meishan terminal after a two-week shutdown due to a COVID-19 outbreak. While the shutdown hasn’t had as severe effects as the Yantian Port closure, there are still outbound and inbound cargo to clear, and a cascading effect of overcrowding at other major ports in Asia is likely, which will further slow down the flow of goods.

In South Korea, a typhoon has hit Busan Port, causing dozens of vessels to divert elsewhere. The world’s sixth busiest port was hit with a typhoon on Tuesday of this week, causing the port to temporarily shut down. Because of this disruption, delays may be likely, but the port has fully resumed operation since the typhoon. 


The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) suspends additional duties on UK and EU products under Section 301 of the Large Civil Aircraft Dispute for five years. The beginning of these suspension periods started on July 4, 2021 for the UK and July 11, 2021, for the EU. To learn more about the duties and instructions for importers, brokers, and filers for consumption during the five-year suspension, visit an online notice from Customs


Savannah importers are urged to pick up cargo faster amid a backlog of containers. The Georgia Ports Authority is urging importers to pick up their cargo faster and tap intermodal rail until new container storage space opens in Savannah’s Garden City Terminal. This request comes as container dwell times increase to 10 days. 

Southern California ports expected to face a record-breaking second wave of containers, with congestion getting worse. As peak season arrives, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will expect record-level import surges and worsening congestion due to strong consumer demand.

As LA-LB congestion worsens, carriers return to Oakland and Pacific Northwest ports. Carriers are directing cargo to more northern ports as LA-LB continues to experience congestion. Oakland is returning to normal capacity after several months of congestion, while many terminals in the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) are filling up quickly.


As airports in China lockdown due to COVID-19, Asia-US air cargo rates surge. The Asia-US air rates rose to a three-month high as seasonal demand in the U.S. intensifies. Major Chinese airports have shut down due to a “zero tolerance” approach, which further cut available capacity for international cargo exports. Most freighter activity at China’s largest airport Shanghai Pudong International Airport has been halted due to two reported COVID-19 cases, while other airports in Beijing, Xiamen, and Guangzho have cancelled many flights and drastically reduced capacity, increasing the bottleneck and delays that have already hindered airports operations around the world.

COVID-19 in Vietnam intensifies with retailers resorting to air cargo. The Ho Chi Minh City government has issued a shelter-in-place order that started on August 23 to help curb the spread of COVID-19. As lockdowns in Vietnam continue, big apparel and footwear retailers are trying to switch from ocean to air transport to make up for huge production slowdowns in Vietnam and ensure that seasonal imports arrive in time for the holiday season. Air freight rates continue to rise as capacity tightens. 


Chassis tire issues are hitting the Gulf Coast and worsening the national shortage of chassis and truckers. Emergency tire repairs on chassis are prolonging the national shortage of chassis and truckers at a time when demand is at record levels. According to motor carriers, this issue becomes more salient during the summer months when the heat impacts older tires. Chassis lessors and pool operators are working as fast as possible to put on more durable tires on chassis, but efforts are varying geographically.  


Intermodal congestion in the U.S. stalls peak season imports. Containers at intermodal terminals haven’t decreased lately, with importers still struggling to get containers out of these terminals with some storage prices of up to $10,000. In the Midwest, international container volume increased by 31% year over year in the second quarter of 2021. Rail ramps in Chicago are storing roughly three times the amount of ocean containers they were last year. It’s expected that this intermodal congestion will persist until at least 2022. If you have any questions about this intermodal congestion, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experts.