COVID-19 Latest Updates

A Delay in Section 301 Extensions, the Chassis Shortage Grows, and Air Freight Rates Set to Soar

By August 20, 2020 No Comments

Customs

More exclusions are on the chopping block as extension deadlines approach. A list of exclusions is set to expire on September 1, and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has yet to post extensions.

Additionally, the USTR announced that due to technical issues, the list of exclusions that were extended on August 6th are temporarily inactive until August 25th. Those with imports to clear customs before then will face standard tariff rates until the 25th, when they’ll be able to file for duty reimbursement.

Trucking

The chassis shortage on the U.S. West Coast continues. Out-of-service chassis seem to be a large part of the problem, so equipment providers in Southern California are rushing to repairs. The FMCSA is also stepping in, approving a request on Tuesday to expedite mechanic training to increase the numbers of those available to make repairs. The chassis shortage, however, has started to spread to the Ports of New York and New Jersey, which are struggling to find open chassis and warehouse space

Ocean

U.S. imports saw a significant upswing in July with west coast ports seeing a nearly 3% bump in volume compared to the same time last year. Unfortunately, this piece of good news is not an indicator of the start of recovery, as experts remain unsure how U.S. consumers will behave this fall given the resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

Air

Spurred by retail activity, a persistent need for PPE and disappearing ocean carrier capacity, air cargo rates are high and likely to continue getting higher throughout the fall. This surge in pricing is not likely to reach the unprecedented levels seen in March and April, as airlines like American Airlines have spent months retrofitting passenger planes to carry cargo in anticipation of heightened demand and this will likely provide shippers some relief.

Ports

The Canadian government is not taking a side in the ongoing strike at the Port of Montreal as it drags into the 10th straight day. The unionized longshore workers, without a contract since December 2018, are holding up commerce at the port so significantly that nearby Port of Halifax has seen a drastic increase in activity coming from ships being diverted away from Montreal.

In an attempt to root out corruption, Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador has declared his intention to cancel a 50-year contract granting operating right to the Port of Veracruz to one private company.