COVID-19 Latest Updates

Maersk Vessel Loses Containers, Biden Issues Executive Order, and Air Rates Plunge

By February 25, 2021 No Comments


Maersk vessel loses 260 containers. On Wednesday, February 18th, the Maersk Eindhoven lost 260 containers in rough seas off the coast of Northern Japan. This incident was the third time in the past three months in which a vessel from Asia headed to the U.S. West Coast lost containers due to rough weather. Maersk said no malfunction or maintenance issues were identified, and only minimal repairs were required to the vessel. 

Ocean carriers Maersk, CMA CGM, and MSC are implementing a general rate increase (GRI). These carriers will enact a GRI starting March 1st at around $50-150 per container, which is less than 10% of the current rates. It is likely, however, that this GRI won’t stick around for long; our team is anticipating its removal within one week of its issue date.  

With Chinese New Year over with, ocean capacity is seemingly starting to open up — slowly. While standard services are still expensive and trans-Pacific container circulation is still slow, rates aren’t increasing as much and there aren’t many issues with cargo rolling. Some carriers are also projecting that capacity will be tight until the end of March, with some capacity starting to open up and congestion slowly starting to ease.

Our team is noticing discrepancies between tracking data received from shipping lines and when shipments are actually arriving at final destinations. Due to routing changes from carriers, we’re seeing delays in updates on the arrival of shipments for some importers. Because of these delays, it’s recommended to track and trace your freight as closely as possible. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experts.


President Biden issues an Executive Order to create more resilient and secure supply chains for essential goods. This Executive Order launches a comprehensive review of supply chains and directs federal departments and agencies to identify ways to further secure these supply chains against vulnerabilities. This order strives to avoid shortages in PPE for front-line healthcare workers, something that was seen in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. More information can be found in a fact sheet on the White House’s website.


The ports in the Pacific Northwest, Toronto, Oakland, and East Coast are majorly congested. As importers found ways to avoid congestion in Southern California and as vessels are re-routed to other ports across North America, congestion is increasing at those ports. As the congestion at these ports increase, there is some space opening up in Southern California, which is the first time that our team is seeing capacity open up. 

Dockworkers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach receive COVID-19 vaccines. Since February 12th, more than 1,000 dockworkers at the Southern California ports have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The ports hope to have all workers vaccinated by the end of April. As longshore labor shortages have been a major contributor to the congestion, these vaccinations happening at the ports will hopefully help ease the congestion as more workers will be able to work at the ports.


Air freight rates decline as Chinese New Year ends. Air cargo rates have declined to levels not seen in months on trans-Pacific and Europe trade lines. However, it’s not clear if this plunge will continue for much longer, so it’s recommended to check regularly on these rates.


There’s an increase in capacity in domestic rail transportation. Our team is starting to see an ease in domestic rail transportation for the first time in months. This ease comes as domestic containers get priority over international containers. 

There was a derailment on a Norfolk Southern train this week. The train derailed in Newport, Pennsylvania, approximately 25 miles northwest of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Service was restored on the line on the morning of Wednesday, February 24th. Customers with traffic moving in this area should anticipate a delay of up to 48 hours.


Truckload rates rise strongly. After a tumultuous 2020, rates in the truckload market will continue their surge. This continuation comes as demand surges to replace depleted inventory and sharp rising costs for carriers.


The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issues information demand orders. The FMC is issuing information demand orders to ocean carriers and marine terminal operators “to determine if legal obligations related to detention and demurrage practices are being met.” These orders come as the FMC continues to investigate practices contributing to the unprecedented congestion at the ports. More information on these orders can be found on the FMC’s website

ICYMI: It’s Black History Month. As Black History Month comes to an end, be sure to catch our Black History Month blog, which highlights prominent Black figures who technologically and culturally made the industry move forward, faster.