COVID-19 Latest Updates

Yantian Port Still Recovering, U.S. Blocks Solar Materials from Xinjiang Region, & Global Air Cargo Demand Reaches Highest Level

By July 1, 2021 No Comments

Ocean  

Yantian Port is operating at full capacity but will still take weeks to recover. After a multi-week shutdown of the largest port in China due to COVID-19, the Yantian is back in full swing and the backlog of vessels is gone. However, shippers shouldn’t expect things to clear up so quickly as the shipments piled up in warehouses and factories in the Shenzhen region will take at least a month to clear.   

A new container shuttle service aids the South India trade strained by capacity issues. At the Chennai and Cochin ports in southern India, the terminals have added a regional weekly shuttle service, allowing shippers to expand export opportunities amid elevated consumer demands.  

Ocean carrier Hapag-Lloyd warns of tight capacity for shippers through 2022. Officials at Hapag-Lloyd have said the carrier will not be able to add more containerships to the trans-Pacific trade routes for the rest of the year even though Asian imports will stay strong. That said, capacity will likely remain tight through 2022, with elevated rates. 

Equipment shortages push US-Latin trade shippers toward contracts. An intense shortage of 40-foot refrigerated containers on the north-south trade routes from North America to Latin America is forcing shippers to make the somewhat unusual move to sign contracts with carriers. In some cases, carriers are canceling spot cargo bookings because they cannot provide equipment since refrigerated carriers have become so scarce.  

Customs  

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Lacey Act will be implemented on August 1, not July 1. Starting August 1, this implementation of the Lacey Act deployment includes products in headings 33, 42, 44, 92, and 96. Regulated products in heading 4415 will only include wood pallets or containers that are imported as a new commodity. Read more about the provisions of the Lacey Act on the Federal Register’s website

The U.S. The International Trade Commission Committee has made changes to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS). Effective July 1, changes to HTS numbers from the ITC will be made. These changes will especially affect textiles. View the full changes to the schedule online

The U.S. blocks solar products made from China’s Xinjiang region. In an effort to support human rights and bar forced labor from supply chains, the Biden Administration has blocked solar materials made from China’s Xinjiang region — the area where the country’s Uyghur Muslim minority have been subjected to mass arbitrary detention and forced to work against their will. While this won’t impact a majority of imports, this could force U.S. solar companies to find materials elsewhere. 

Ports 

U.S. PNW ports reopen after the heatwave. After several container terminals were closed earlier this week due to heatwaves, the ports of Seattle and Tacoma resumed operations. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures in Seattle hit 106 degrees Fahrenheit. The port shutdown was implemented to protect the workers, and it had no serious consequences to cargo handling.  

The Port of Charleston expands truck hours amid import surges. The port of Charleston will open its Saturday gates to pre-pandemic hours and open two hours earlier each weekday to meet import volume demands and to work around labor uncertainty at the Leatherman terminal. 

Air

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.  

JFK Airport will have a new cargo facility. This facility will be the airport’s newest cargo facility in more than 20 years and will help streamline efficiencies for cargo airlines, freight forwarders, delivery companies, and shippers. This facility will help balance out the cramped warehouses that haven’t been able to keep up with growing cargo volumes. This project is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.   

U.S. and E.U. importers leverage air freight to restock inventories. U.S. and European manufacturers are using air freight to transport goods that would typically travel by ocean to meet demand due to ocean transportation delays. It’s expected that this trend will continue as countries recover from COVID-19 and consumer confidence increases.

FedEx will invest in 20 more 767 freighters from Boeing. As e-commerce continues to drive global growth for the parcel sector, FedEx plans to buy 20 more cargo jets. This purchase will modernize its fleet and improve its service amid strong shipping demand.   

Trucking 

U.S. truck volumes go down, but rates remain high. While truck tonnage dropped in May, it wasn’t due to demand. A lack of capacity and supply chain disruptions were most likely the reason for this slight 0.2% drop, but truckload rates still remain high.

Rail

Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) restricts and shuts down service amid chassis recalls. Because of a lack of available chassis, NS is significantly limiting the number of 53-foot containers on two dozen lanes and denying service altogether for some customers. This move went into effect on Monday. This disruption is the first significant inhibitor to supply chains since NS recalled 5,100 domestic chassis earlier this month. This service disruption may last two to three weeks.   

Other

The U.S. Department of Transportation met with groups representing major container lines and retail importers to address U.S. port congestion. After meeting with the said groups, the federal government is looking at possible solutions to mitigate the capacity crunch as record-breaking cargo volumes flow into the country. 

Why you should do your Christmas shopping early. An analysis showing the world’s biggest ports from Bloomberg explains why Christmas shopping should be done early this year. From container shortages and congestion to gridlock at major ports, your company should be prepared for the holiday season.