COVID-19 Latest Updates

Container Shipping Rates Skyrocket, Congestion at Oakland Continues, & Norfolk Southern Raises Daily Domestic Container Charges

By July 8, 2021 No Comments


Ocean carriers are launching premium services to employ private chassis fleets. Intermodal equipment providers (IEPs) are saying that container carriers are employing private chassis fleets through premium services at U.S. receiving ports to meet customer expectations for chassis availability. Ensuring chassis availability requires a high level of coordination and data sharing among supply chain partners, which is why a private fleet is necessary, according to Daniel Walsh, the CEO of IEP TRAC Intermodal. 

Maersk returns to Yantian Port as congestion eases. As productivity at Yantian International Container Terminals (YICT) increases, ocean carrier Maersk is gradually reinstating the 19 mainline services it suspended from the port after its COVID-19 outbreak. Yard density at the port is down 65%, and Maersk reported an average wait time at the port is now down to hours. 

Container shipping rates skyrocket as goods from Asia surge. As ocean capacity remains tight through the rest of the year, cargo owners and importers are paying historic prices to ship containers from Asia to the U.S. and Europe. From a year ago, the average global price to ship a 40-foot container has more than quadrupled. These rates are the result of supply chain disruptions that triggered delays at ports and distribution networks as manufacturers rush to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. To secure space, it is advised to book as far in advance as you can. 


Customs releases two out of three U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) regulatory packages. On July 1, Customs released two USMCA regulatory packages setting forth standards for a range of issues including regulatory packages for marking, tariff-rate quotas (TRQs), origin determinations and other provisions. It is advised to review and track the final outcomes of these regulations and their applications to North American cross-border trade to ensure compliance with daily operations. You can view CBP’s interim final rule and what it includes in a document online.  

The U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) grants preliminary injunction to halt liquidation of certain 301 tariffs. On July 6, the CIT granted this injunction for unliquidated import entries subject to Lists 3 and 4A duties subject to Section 301 litigation. It is advised that importers ensure they provide all the information the court required regarding unliquidated entries and that they are handled these entries appropriately. The CIT’s full opinion can be found in a document online.


The Port of New Orleans issues a request for proposal for a $1.5 billion container terminal. The proposal includes requests for program management and controls services. The terminal — called the Louisiana International Terminal — is expected to be capable of handling 2 million twenty-foot equivalent units annually. The second terminal will ensure that the port is better suited to meet current and future container volumes.  

Congestion at Oakland port causes MSC to scale back calls. Due to ongoing congestion at the Port of Oakland, MSC is reducing the frequency of calls in Oakland to every two weeks instead of weekly. The congestion is caused by record-breaking import surges from Asia. 

Tropical storm Elsa approaches Southeastern ports. It is projected that the storm will move northeastward across the southeastern U.S. through Thursday, causing ports in Florida to be under port condition and amp up restrictions for vessels. The storm will likely cause supply chain disruptions and delays. 


Global air cargo demand reaches its highest level. Since the International Air Transport Association (IATA) began gathering data in 1990, global air cargo demand has reached its highest level in March of 2020. This increase in demand is due to the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines embracing innovation, and favorable economic conditions for the airlines. Read more about why global air freight demand is on the rise in an article by Global Trade Magazine.  


Trucking industry sees the highest one-month gain in employment in 7 years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the overall number of drivers has returned to pre-pandemic levels. While labor shortages fueled trucking capacity issues, it is still unclear as to whether these new gains will benefit truckload carriers as seats are still struggling to be filled. 


Norfolk Southern (NS) raises daily domestic container charges. For 53-foot EMP and TMX domestic intermodal containers, NS is raising the daily fees starting July 14 in an effort to encourage customers to return boxes quickly amid the ongoing capacity constraints. 

Union Pacific (UP) is capping storage fees charges for inaccessible containers. At UP’s Global IV terminal in Joliet, IL, UP is putting a cap on fees for containers that are stacked on inaccessible. This move comes after shippers and non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOs) protested exceedingly high bills. This cap went into effect on July 1 and will cap fees at $2,450 per container. 


How COVID-19 variants are expected to affect supply chains. As the Delta variant surges across the world, learn more about how new COVID-19 strains will likely affect global supply chains