COVID-19 Latest Updates

Yantian Port Backlogs Will Take Weeks to Clear, Air Cargo Faces New TSA Screening Requirements, & Chassis Shortage Worsens

By June 24, 2021 No Comments

Ocean  

Yantian port will 100% reopen on June 24, but backlogs are still rampant. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak causing hundreds of missed vessel calls through the first half of June at Yantian International Container Terminals (YICT), a growing number of backlogged containers is left, which will take weeks to clear. When the port fully reopens, shippers should still expect serious delays — even for the holiday shipping season — as the effects of this port closure are anticipated to have ripple effects greater than the Suez Canal blockage. 

As port congestion grows, carriers cut North Europe hubs out of rotation. Unreliable scheduling is fueling port congestion at hub ports in North Europe, causing carriers to temporarily cut certain key points out of their Europe rotations. Sources say the main cause of this port handling difficulty is the poor on-time performance by container ships. Due to the high workload on the terminals, it is still unclear when this congestion is expected to ease.    

Hapag-Lloyd adds six ships to its orderbook to build out the capacity of large container ships. The carrier has ordered six 23,500 TEU ships, in addition to six other ships ordered last year, which will be delivered through 2023 and 2024. These ships will be deployed on the Asia-Europe trade to serve routes covered by THE Alliance of Hapag-Lloyd, Yang Ming, HMM, and Ocean Network Express.

Customs  

Former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Kevin McAleenan discusses the importance of customs brokers in a Senate hearing on June 16. The former DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan testified in a Senate hearing stating how important the role of customs brokers is in reinforcing trade — a move that bolsters brokers’ participation in transferring trade data. You can watch the hearing in a video on the Department of Homeland Security’s website.  

ICYMI: The Senate passes key trade provisions in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. To help compete with China, the Senate passed a key bill that would invest more than $200 billion over the next five years into scientific research and technology. The bill reinstates the expired Generalized System of Preferences program (GSP) and the product exclusion process for some Section 301 tariffs. Additionally, the bill is supposed to bolster efforts to prohibit goods with forced labor from reaching the U.S. through strengthened CBP efforts. The bill is pending approval in the House, so more updates to come. Read more about the provisions of the bill online.  

Ports 

New cranes and cross decks will be implemented at ports in the Pacific Northwest to handle growing cargo volumes and maxed out capacity. Four super-post-Panamax cranes were recently delivered to the Port of Seattle, which will be among the largest in service along the West Coast and enable the largest ships in the trans-Pacific trade to call. The cranes will start moving cargo in 2022, after the completion of construction of Terminal 5 at the port. 

Additionally, on September 1, a 117,000-square-foot, 103-door cross deck facility will open at the Port of Vancouver. Both of these expansions will help aid in the growing cargo volumes the ports have been receiving over the past year. As of this week, the Port of Seattle is at 120% capacity, with Vancouver remaining at an elevated 90+%. 

Newark yard reopens, giving importers an off-storage port option. The Port Container Yard (PCY) in Newark at the Port of NY-NJ that once stored empty containers has now reopened due to strong demand from shippers looking to move their freight out of the port as soon as possible. The PCY is a 55-acre site, and its reopening underscores the need for additional space as the port welcomed record import volumes. 

Air

Reminder: all outbound air cargo traveling on air freighters from the U.S. will face TSA screening requirements starting July 1, 2021. This TSA screening is meant to detect and identify concealed explosive devices and prevent the introduction of these devices. However, the Transportation Security Administration has finalized plans providing businesses with the option to opt out of the screening requirements if their facilities have approved security controls. To view the full TSA screening requirements, visit the TSA’s website

Trucking 

FedEx Freight reverses its abrupt suspensions of truck pickups due to backlash. Last week, FedEx Freight stopped many truck pickup locations across the country for overwhelmed terminals to restore productivity levels. However, after some backlash from key stakeholders, FedEx Freight has decided to reverse its suspensions to a portion of its customer base. Instead of implementing a broad action that would affect the entire geographic freight network, the forwarder is now working with direct customers to address capacity concerns. The entire scope of the reversal is still unclear, but sources say that it is “widespread.” If you have any questions about this, don’t hesitate to request a quote with our LTL team or contact our experts

The Interstate-40 Bridge’s continued closure in Memphis, Tennessee is bringing more stress to U.S. supply chains. After a crack was found in the bridge that deemed it unsafe, the bridge has since been closed, jamming traffic for over a month, costing money for businesses, and stalling the region’s economic recovery from the pandemic, while congesting national supply chains. Completion of the repairs is expected to last until July, so if you have goods moving through the area, delays are likely to last until then. 

Rail

The Midwest marine chassis shortage is worse now than months ago. At U.S. Midwest rail hubs, the supply of marine chassis has gotten worse than two months ago, where supply was already running thin. This shortage is causing container stacks to pile up and storage bills to accumulate at extremely high levels. The main culprit of this shortage is the sheer volume of containerized cargo that has been flooding into the U.S. over the past year.  

Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) has recalled 5,100 chassis because of safety issues, worsening shortage crisis. Due to a safety issue that can lead to the wheels separating from the chassis on the railway, NS has recalled 5,100 chassis, exacerbating shortage as the railroad has already rationed equipment in nearly a dozen U.S. ramps. Out of an abundance of caution, NS is inspecting and repairing all chassis in the series. There is currently no timeline on when work would be completed on the affected chassis, so stay tuned for updates.