COVID-19 Latest Updates

Ocean Carriers Implement GRI, USTR Suspends Duties on EU and UK Products, Congestion Continues at Ports of LA-LB

By March 18, 2021 No Comments


Ocean carrier MSC will launch a new China-East Coast service this spring. The shipping line will launch “Palmetto,” a weekly service that will provide direct connections to the Ports of Savannah, from Vietnam and Yantian, China to Charleston, and New York. Launch dates, port rotations, and transit times will be released later. This new service comes as the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach remain overwhelmed by record imports from Asia. 

Ocean carriers will implement a general rate increase (GRI). Starting in April, ocean lines will implement a GRI from Asia, and there will also be a possibility of a peak season surcharge, with ocean rates expected to remain high for the foreseeable future. Hapag-Lloyd, for example, will implement a $1200 GRI per 40-foot container, while other carriers are expected to follow a similar increase. In order to restore rates to make more equipment available for cargo shipments, carriers have also been focusing on the traditionally low-revenue backhaul routes instead of defaulting to deadheading empty containers back to Asia. 


The United States Trade Representative (USTR) suspends duties on EU and UK products under Section 301 Large Civil Aircraft Dispute. This suspension is effective for products from the EU that enter into the U.S. for consumption after March 11, 2021 and before July 11, 2021. For products from the UK, however, the suspension went into effect on March 4, 2021 and will continue until midnight on July 4, 2021. 


Congestion may continue at the Ports of LA-LB at least until summer. Due to record imports that have strained supply chains — as well as other metrics like trucker wait times, container dwell times, the number of ships in the harbor, and chassis availability — the Ports of LA-LB will most likely remain in a pattern of congestion until at least the summer, port executives say.

Despite congestion continuing at Southern California ports, ships and containers have been reduced. The ports have been able to reduce the number of vessels and containers on the water, as well as those sitting at the ports, with some containers at the port averaging a waiting time of just under eight days. Additionally, some ocean carriers have declined inland transportation of containers, reducing some congestion and freeing up more containers to hopefully improve the global container circulation and shortage at Asian hubs.


Air rates start to increase again. Despite the recent decline in air rates, they are now increasing again, although, not at as high as they once were. Additionally, congestion is getting worse at main airway hubs across the country to the point where terminals can no longer operate efficiently. This congestion is in part due to COVID-19 affecting workers, a shortage of truckers available at the airports, and freight not moving on a first-in-first-out basis. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experts


Major storage yard closure near the Port of NY-NJ interferes with trucking operations. A recent closure of a major storage yard near the Ports of New York and New Jersey has forced truckers to look for new places to store empty containers. This limited availability has left truckers to make unproductive decisions, affecting their ability to deliver imports in a timely manner. 

Tornadoes and thunderstorms in the South may cause disruptions for truckers. From the Plains all the way to the Carolinas, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are expected for the next two days, so delays are likely to be expected.  


It’s Women’s History Month. This month, we’re celebrating women figures who transformed the supply chain and transportation industry. Our Women’s History Month blog highlights women supply chain leaders who made the industry move forward, faster.