Freight Market Updates

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Navigating Into the New Year: A Customs Checklist

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Navigating Into the New Year: A Customs Checklist There’s no doubt that 2020 has been an unforgettable and difficult year. With an unprecedented pandemic disrupting every aspect of our lives...

Navigating a Changing Marketplace

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Navigating a Changing Marketplace The logistics marketplace is one that’s always changing. Advancements in technology and transportation have paved the way for progress in the logistics world, shipping goods faster...
Highway over water to embody efficiency in supply chain

Efficiency Matters

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Efficiency Matters In the logistics world, efficiency is everything. Making sure that a shipment successfully travels from point A to point B in a timely manner, within budget, and with...
Photo of two people shaking hands in business deal.

Trying Times for Customer Relationships

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Trying Times for Customer Relationships Managing relationships with key customers is tricky in the 21st century even when there aren’t major global health and economic crises. Now, relationships are strained...

USTR Suspends France’s Digital Service Tax, Congestion Continues at U.S. Coastal Ports, and Air Freight Rates Decline

By | COVID-19 Latest Updates | No Comments

Ocean  

Ocean carrier space is still hard to come by. There are few to none empty containers available to load in China unless bookings are completed through the recently-offered premium services. These constraints on vessel space are due to U.S. imports from Asia increasing. If customers have new shipments that need to depart China before Chinese New Year (February 12th), premium services will need to be used for those shipments. However, standard services will most likely not sail until the end of February. The rates on these standard services will most likely extend through the end of January, but there’s a chance that the rates may change if shipping lines choose to raise them. 

Customs  

United States Trade Representative (USTR) suspends France’s digital service tax. The USTR has decided to suspend these digital service tariffs that were scheduled to go into effect on January 6, 2021. According to the USTR’s office, these tariffs were suspended “in light of the ongoing investigation of similar tariffs adopted or under consideration in ten other jurisdictions.” The civil aircraft Section 301 tariffs still took effect on January 12, 2021. 

ICYMI: Section 301 tariff exclusions extended. Due to the ongoing pandemic, 80 medical supplies will be excluded from the Section 301 tariffs until March 31, 2021. The full list of products can be found on a PDF online from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative

Ports 

Congestion continues at U.S. coastal ports, causing delays. On the east coast, the port of New York is experiencing delays of up to two days, while Savannah is experiencing delays of up to 60 hours and Miami is heavily congested due to a surge in import volumes. There is a chance that the East Coast ports, however, may be alleviating soon, but it’s unclear as to when. On the Gulf, Houston is experiencing delays of up to 12 hours after holiday closures, while New Orleans is experiencing berthing delays of up to 24 hours. The West Coast is even more congested, with vessel wait times reaching 14 days at Los Angeles and Long Beach, and three days at Oakland due to a labor shortage. And in Seattle, vessel wait times are up to 36 hours due to high import volumes. 

Congestion worsens at ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach due to import surges and labor shortages. According to terminal operators, the congestion is worsening due to six months of near-record cargo volumes arriving at the port, pushing the Southern California supply chain beyond its capacity. There are longer container dwell times and rising truck turn times, and terminal operators can’t vacate laden import containers fast enough to make room for new shipments.  There seems to be no end in sight for this unprecedented congestion for quite some time, at least through June or July. If you need any help navigating this congestion, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experts

Air

Air freight rates have returned to pre-COVID-19 rates. These rates have been the lowest rates seen in the past year, returning to the same rates as the pre-COVID era. This decline in rates indicates that there’s little to no demand for air freights at the moment, so customers looking for alternate means of shipping goods may find some use in air freight as opposed to ocean freight. It is unclear as to how long this decline in rates is going to last, so it’s recommended to check regularly on these rates. 

Trucking 

Delays continue due to COVID-19 constraints and freight demand surging. The ongoing surge in U.S. imports and the COVID-19 pandemic is creating shortages all across the board, especially in the trucking industry. Trucks are being filled at a prior stop, pick-up dates are being pushed out as deliveries are missed, and drivers are delayed by other shippers. These problems are all causing long delays in the arrival of goods and even penalties imposed on shippers by retail customers for missed deliveries.  

Other

Chassis shortages in Chicago worsen due to record volumes. Beneficial cargo owners have been unable to get their containers out of Union Pacific’s largest Chicago terminal due to a chassis shortage. The railroad stated that this shortage is a temporary issue, and it’s working on moving piled up containers onto chassis and trucks.

Ocean Space Hard to Come By, New Exclusions from Section 301 Tariffs, CMA CGM Launches Premium Service

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Ocean  

Ocean carrier space is still hard to come by. There are few to none empty containers available to load in China unless bookings are completed through the recently-offered premium services. These constraints on vessel space are due to U.S. imports from Asia increasing. Because of this scarce space, shipping lines suggest checking back for space through standard services after the Chinese New Year. If customers have new shipments that need to depart China before Chinese New Year (February 12th), premium services will need to be used for those shipments.

Customs  

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will now require an aluminum import license for most imports of aluminum products. Starting January 25, 2021, brokers and importers will need an aluminum import license for each entry of an aluminum product and will have to register for an account online to receive a license. Pre-registration will open up on January 4, 2021, and can be completed at https://www.trade.gov/aluminum. The list of aluminum products subject to the license can be found on the International Trade Administration’s website. This new license system will use the same platform as the steel licensing system, so importers with an existing steel license do not need to register for an aluminum license. 

New exclusions will be granted from Section 301 tariffs to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Certain product exclusions that were set to expire at the end of 2020 will now be extended through March 31st, 2021. These products include medical-care equipment to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; the United States Trade Representative (USTR) had deemed the expirations of these exclusions inappropriate given the ongoing pandemic. The products that are eligible for exclusions can be found in an online PDF from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. If you need help understanding these changes, feel free to reach out to one of our experts

Ports 

Ports continue to handle surge of import volumes. Ports across the United States are still handling record-breaking import volumes from Asia, with some U.S. Gulf ports implementing capacity expansions for 2021. Though the ports are still handling major import volumes, the congestion is improving slightly, hopefully easing fully after the Chinese New Year. 

CMA CGM to launch premium service from Yantian, China to Oakland and Seattle. To avoid unprecedented congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California, shipping line CMA CGM will offer a premium service from Yantian to Oakland and Seattle to give U.S. importers another West Coast port option. According to CMA CGM, Seapriority Express (SEA-X) will provide vessel space and equipment release in Yantian, with the fastest transit time available of 12 days to Oakland.

Air

Air freights experience slight delays due to space constraints. Due to the slim capacity on air freights, air carriers are experiencing delays of up to three days, while inland movements are delayed due to constraints on domestic truckers. The rates for air space remain quite high. 

Trucking 

Delays continue due to COVID-19 constraints and freight demand surging. The ongoing surge in U.S. imports and the COVID-19 pandemic is creating shortages all across the board, especially in the trucking industry. Trucks are being filled at a prior stop, pick-up dates are being pushed out as deliveries are missed, and drivers are delayed by other shippers. These problems are all causing long delays in the arrival of goods and even penalties imposed on shippers by retail customers for missed deliveries.  

Ocean Carriers Take Action to Mitigate Congestion, GPS Expires at the End of the Year, and New Aluminum Import License for Aluminum Products

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Ocean  

The World Shipping Council (WSC) takes action to address the Federal Maritime Commission’s concerns about ocean carriers contributing to port congestion. The WSC is taking action like “employing all available vessel capacity, repositioning vessels to those trades with the highest demand, speeding the return of excess empty containers and increasing cargo fluidity,” and more. Other major carriers like Maersk Line and APM Terminals 400 are working with ports and trucking organizations to develop more creative solutions to address congestion problems and foster more dual transactions. 

Ocean carrier space continues to be at capacity. Space is completely booked well into January. To work around these capacity issues, customers can book a premium service offered by some carriers, which will cost approximately $2-3,000 more than usual. However, there are still delays with these premium services. Due to the tight capacity, some areas in China are refusing shipments, which is also increasing delays. These refusals are expected to continue into February, hopefully stopping after the Chinese New Year. 

As the holiday season wraps up, delays are still present. Some ocean carriers are seeing 5-15 day dwell time at the ports, causing arrival delays. In some cases, it’s even more than 30 days. It is also anticipated that these delays will continue and possibly worsen as the year comes to a close. To increase the possibility of receiving shipments at a reasonable time, it is recommended to book at least four weeks in advance.

Customs  

Generalized System of Preferences is still set to expire at the end of the year. The GSP provides duty-free treatment for thousands of imports from hundreds of countries and will expire by December 31st, 2020. Certain goods may be subject to tariffs starting at the beginning of the new year because of this expiration. However, should the GSP be renewed retroactively, importers should still claim GSP on their entries for eligible refunds. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will now require an aluminum import license for most imports of aluminum products. Starting January 25, 2021, brokers and importers will need an aluminum import license for each entry of an aluminum product and will have to register for an account online to receive a license. Pre-registration will open up on January 4, 2021, and can be completed at https://www.trade.gov/aluminum. The list of aluminum products subject to the license can be found on the International Trade Administration’s website. This new license system will use the same platform as the steel licensing system, so importers with an existing steel license do not need to register for an aluminum license. 

Ports 

The port of Miami is experiencing a cargo surge, causing backlogs of up to two weeks. As 2020 comes to an end, there has been a surge in volume and vessels arriving late to the Miami port due to delays at other ports. These late arrivals to the port are straining the drayage network, and draymen in the area are saying that this strain is resulting in cargo owners needing to provide at least a week’s notice to pick up import containers. 

Air

Peak season causes some delays, but air rates remain stable. The holiday peak season is causing some delays with air freights, which is typical around this time. Air freight rates are still high but are around the same as when the COVID-19 pandemic first started in March and April.

Trucking 

Less-than-truckload service issues multiply as COVID-19 pandemic and freight demand surge. The ongoing surge in U.S. imports and the COVID-19 pandemic is creating shortages all across the board, especially in the trucking industry. Trucks are being filled at a prior stop, pick-up dates are being pushed out as deliveries are missed, and drivers are delayed by other shippers. These problems are all causing long delays in the arrival of goods and even penalties imposed on shippers by retail customers for missed deliveries.  

Capacity Issues Across the Board, Winter Storm Gail Causes Delays, and U.S. Ports Request Billions for COVID-19 Relief

By | COVID-19 Latest Updates | No Comments

Ocean  

Ocean carrier space continues to be at capacity. Space is completely booked through the end of the year and into January. To work around these capacity issues, customers can book a premium service offered by some carriers, which will cost approximately $2-3,000 more than usual. However, there are still delays with these premium services. Due to the tight capacity, some areas in China are refusing shipments, which is also increasing delays. These refusals are expected to continue into February, hopefully stopping after the Chinese New Year.  

As the holiday season continues, so too are delays. Some ocean carriers are seeing 5-15 day dwell time at the ports, causing arrival delays. In some cases, it’s even more than 30 days. As the Christmas and New Year holidays approach, it is anticipated that these delays will continue and possibly worsen. To increase the possibility of receiving shipments at a reasonable time, it is recommended to book at least four weeks in advance.

Customs  

Federal government agencies and executive departments to close on December 24, 2020. On December 11, 2020, President Trump signed an executive order calling for the closing of executive departments and agencies of the federal government on Christmas Eve. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will operate as a holiday on December 24, 2020. This closing might have small impacts that may delay exams or physical reviews of releases, however, it gives importers an extra day to pay their duties. 

Section 301 tariff exclusions expire at the end of the year. It is unlikely that the 25% Section 301 tariffs placed on China will be removed soon, even at the start of President-elect Joe Biden’s presidency, who has no plans to immediately remove the tariffs. The President-elect has said that he would like to conduct a full review of the tariffs and consult allies in Europe and Asia to develop a strategy before taking action. Therefore, the exclusions for these tariffs will still expire at the end of the year.

Ports 

There’s an import surge at U.S. Southeast ports, tightening chassis availability. While the Asia-US import surge is slowing slightly at U.S. West Coast ports, the surge is spreading to the East and Gulf coasts. With e-commerce, retail restocking, and Christmas shopping season, container volumes hit all-time highs in ports at Savannah and Virginia, and other ports like Miami. These gains are causing concerns among drayage providers, fearing that a chassis shortage will be possible if cargo owners can’t unload containers fast enough. 

U.S. ports request billions for COVID-19 relief. As ports continue to handle record import volumes, the relief seeks to ensure that ports and maritime transportation businesses can keep up with the accelerating costs of paying workers and eventually aid properly in the country’s economic recovery as the pandemic winds down in 2021. Several maritime transportation groups are urging Congress to enact such relief so that important goods like food and medical equipment can properly be delivered across the country.  

The Port of Los Angeles plucks out toys from massive stocks of cargo in time for Christmas. For families to have their presents under the Christmas tree, workers at the Port of Los Angeles are picking out shipments of toys from the stacks of cargo. The COVID-19 pandemic has been hitting the toy industry hard – especially during this Christmas season, and shipments of toys have been delayed for weeks or just sitting at the port. Executive Director of the port Gene Seroka and others have been helping those shipments get out of the port every day to deliver to families on time.

Air

Peak season causes some delays, but air rates remain stable. The holiday peak season is causing some delays with air freights, which is typical around this time. Air freight rates are still high but are around the same as when the COVID-19 pandemic first started in March and April.

Trucking 

Less-than-truckload service issues multiply as COVID-19 pandemic and freight demand surge. The ongoing surge in U.S. imports and the COVID-19 pandemic is creating shortages all across the board, especially in the trucking industry. Trucks are being filled at a prior stop, pick-up dates are being pushed out as deliveries are missed, and drivers are delayed by other shippers. These problems are all causing long delays in the arrival of goods and even penalties imposed on shippers by retail customers for missed deliveries.  

As we continue into the Christmas tree season, trucking capacity is very tight. Delays remain to be expected as areas like southern Oregon, northern Wisconsin, and West Virginia will have limited capacity. After the holiday season, some rebalancing is expected.

Other

Winter storm Gail hits the Northeastern United States this week. The storm is expected to bring heavy snow, freezing rain, and high winds to states including Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. It is expected that the effects of the storm will continue through Thursday, December 17, and customers should expect delays of up to 48 hours. Norfolk Southern is currently staging mechanical and engineering resources. As the winter season continues, it is advised that customers continually check that they have insurance on their shipments and expect delays due to inclement weather.

Ship Loses Containers, Ports Strive to Relieve Congestion, and More Critical Capacity Issues

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Ocean  

ONE ship loses nearly 1,900 containers while en route to Long Beach, California due to violent weather. This loss was the largest loss of containers at sea in more than seven years and another reminder of how severe storms can affect shipments. The containers included items like fireworks, batteries, and liquid ethanol. The ship is due to arrive in Kobe, Japan this week where a full damage and assessment will take place, and it is expected that the vessel will not arrive in Long Beach, California for at least two weeks. It also recommended that customers continually check that they bought marine insurance to protect themselves from these types of instances in the future.  

Ocean carrier space continues to be at capacity. Space is completely booked through the end of the year and into January. To work around these capacity issues, customers can book a premium service offered by some carriers. Premium services will cost approximately $2-3,000 more than usual and shipments will still take a few weeks to arrive.  Due to the tight capacity, some areas in China are refusing shipments, which is increasing delays. These refusals are expected to continue into February, hopefully stopping after the Chinese New Year. 

As the holiday season continues, some ocean carriers are posting major delays. 60-90 day delays, up from the post-Thanksgiving 30-40 day delays, are anticipated as we continue further into the holiday season. To receive shipments at a reasonable time, it is recommended to book four weeks in advance.

Customs  

Some U.S. companies are unable to receive their Section 301 China tariff refunds. These companies are unable to receive their refunds because the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) did not grant product exclusions until after import entries were liquidated. As a result, a coalition of companies and trade associations is urging lawmakers to enact legislation that would refund all owed Section 301 China duty exclusions, even on liquidated import entries. It is recommended to contact your Representative or Senators if your business is affected by these actions. 

HTS updated to reflect removal of some Thai products from GSP treatment. The Harmonized Tariff Schedule has been updated to reflect a recent decision by President Trump to suspend hundreds of millions of dollars in trade preferences for Thailand. This decision was based on lack of sufficient progress providing the United States with equitable access to the pork products market. 

Generalized System of Preferences set to expire at the end of the year. The GSP provides duty-free treatment for thousands of imports from hundreds of countries and will expire by December 31st, 2020. If not renewed before then by Congress, certain goods may be subject to tariffs starting at the beginning of the new year. Nearly 300 companies and trade organizations are urging Congress to extend GSP to avoid these tariffs, potential layoffs, hiring freezes, wage cuts and benefits, and more. If you need any help navigating these changes don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experts.

Ports 

Los Angeles and Long Beach terminals strive to relieve congestion. As the ports continue to see record import volumes and be congested beyond capacity, it is expected that this increase will continue well into 2021. In efforts to ease congestion, the Long Beach port is working with terminal operators to ensure that 50% of all trucker visits to the ports involve dual transactions. To help further decrease congestion, chassis providers are piloting a temporary stop/start near-dock site, giving truckers the option to drop off empty containers and bare chassis awaiting to return to Asia.

Air

As volume drops, air freight rates remain stable. Fewer delays are expected because of the drop in volume and booking requests, but still likely to continue until mid-February, after the Chinese New Year. 

Trucking 

As we continue into the Christmas tree season, trucking capacity is very tight. Delays remain to be expected as areas like southern Oregon, northern Wisconsin, and West Virginia will have limited capacity. After the holiday season, some rebalancing is expected.

Post-Thanksgiving Congestion, Changes to HTS Codes, and Two Mainline Derailments Cause Delays

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Ocean  

Ocean carrier space is still getting worse. Space is completely booked out for the rest of the year, and space is filled up until the middle of January. Customers can work around these capacity issues if they book on a premium service that some carriers have begun offering. These premium services, however, will cost nearly $2-3,000 more than usual, and shipments would still take a few weeks to arrive on time. Some areas in China are also refusing shipments because of the tight capacity. It is expected that these refusals will last until the Chinese New Year and hopefully stop in late February. Because of these refusals, delays are expected. 

Some ocean carriers are posting delays of 30-40 days after the Thanksgiving holiday. Some carriers were closed for a few days due to the Thanksgiving holiday, and when they came back from their respite, they were overwhelmed with delays. As the holidays continue throughout December, delays of 60-90 days are anticipated. It is also recommended to book four weeks in advance in order to receive shipments in a reasonable time. 

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is monitoring three major shipping alliances. Due to market fluctuations, the FMC is requiring three major global shipping alliances — 2M, THE Alliance, and OCEAN — to provide monthly carrier-specific trade data rather than quarterly. The FMC’s order comes as global regulators increase their scrutiny of container lines, citing that these carriers have “the greatest potential to cause or facilitate adverse market effects.”

Customs  

President-elect Joe Biden has no immediate plans to remove tariffs on China. The President-elect said he would not act immediately to remove the 25% tariffs that President Trump imposed on about half of China’s exports to the United States. Instead, Biden wants to conduct a full review of the existing agreement with China and consult with traditional allies in Asia and Europe to develop a strategy. 

France moves forward with digital taxes on U.S. technology companies. France is now collecting a new digital service tax from some U.S. technology companies, such as Amazon and Facebook. Officials in France claim that some of these companies pay too little in taxes on the profits they make in countries, which is why the country decided to impose these digital taxes. 

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) seeks comments on modifications to the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS). Comments will be open until December 14th. Some of the changes in these HTS codes pertain to classification numbers and changing the wording to modernize the tariff book. These changes will go into effect by January of 2022, so customers will have to update some of their systems by then. You can view the proposed HTS changes in a published USITC document online

Ports 

The Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) will implement surcharges due to congestion. The carrier has said that it will implement an “emergency intermodal surcharge” of $350 per dry container at U.S. West Coast ports. The surcharge applies to truck deliveries from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, and Tacoma. However, if shippers identify a specific trucker, they can be exempt from the fee.

The port of Qingdao in China has stopped taking freights. Because of congestion and capacity issues, the port of Qingdao in China has stopped taking freights, which could be an indication that more ports in the area will do the same. It is advised that customers should keep an eye out for these instances so they can plan accordingly. If you need help navigating these issues, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our Freight Experts

Air

Air freight rates remain stable. Air rates seem to not be increasing because volume is dropping. This drop in volume is probably because there aren’t as many booking requests at the moment because of less demand. Therefore, fewer delays are expected, but still likely to continue until after the Chinese New Year. 

Trucking 

Trucking capacity remains tight as the holiday season continues. There seems to be no sign of improving capacity, even after the Thanksgiving holiday. As the Christmas tree season continues, trucking capacity will also remain tight. Areas like northern Wisconsin, West Virginia, and southern Oregon will be areas that will have tight capacity, with new areas that will arise as the season continues. Therefore, delays are expected.

Other

After two mainline derailments, Norfolk Southern works to restore service. These derailments occurred near Cleveland, OH, and Hattiesburg, MS. Norfolk Southern has restored services in the Cleveland area, but customers with traffic moving through the area can expect delays of up to 48 hours. In Mississippi, Norfolk Southern is still working to restore services, but delays of up to 48 hours are also expected. As the winter season continues, customers should be aware of these types of instances that may cause delays for shipments.   

Ocean Carrier Space Gets Worse, New Vietnam 301 Tariff Timeline, FMC to Launch Investigation to Ease Congestion at Ports

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Ocean  

Ocean carrier space is getting worse across the board. For most places out of China, space will be full until the end of December, and it appears that this congestion will continue until the Chinese New Year and well into January. Many shipments are facing 3-4 weeks rolling of carriers, and equipment shortages are also increasing. Because of these shortages, it is recommended to move along with any shipment size that is available. If you need help navigating these challenges, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our Freight Experts

Customs  

Vietnam 301 tariffs might come in January. Under a new timeline of the Trump administration’s 301 investigations on Vietnamese imports related to currency valuation and illegal timber sourcing, new tariffs, quotas, or other restrictions on Vietnamese imports could be imposed as early as January 2021. Hearings regarding these tariffs will be held on December 28th (timber) and December 29th (currency) with requests to appear at either hearing are due by December 10th. Post-hearing rebuttal comments will be due by January 6th (timber) and January 7th (currency). While this timeline is just a few weeks before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, it is still likely that the Trump administration will impose these restrictions. Importers of wood products from Vietnam will most likely be affected, and it is recommended that those who will be affected by these tariffs make their voices heard at the upcoming hearings.

Ports 

Southern California warehouses are tight, nearing capacity. The ports of Los Angeles expect to see a 41% increase in volume this week, compared to the same week this time last year in 2019. Congestion at the port continues, as well, with terminal dwell times doubled to five days, warehouse space doubled to about seven days, and truck turn times increasing. For greater efficiency at the port, the port staff plans to propose to the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners a monetary incentive for dual transactions, ensuring that trucks enter the gates with a container and leave with one. 

The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) will launch a formal investigation into ocean carriers’ operational issues that are believed to cause the increasing congestion at ports on the U.S. West and East Coasts. The FMC will investigate practices by ocean carriers to ease the congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and New York and New Jersey. The FMC cited three main issues causing congestion at the ports: detention and demurrage practices, empty container returns, and “the refusal by some lines to carry US exports as they expedite the return of empty containers to Asia to be refilled with higher-paying import cargoes.”

Air

Air freight rates remain stable but still high. With ocean capacity remaining tight for the next several weeks and months, air freight rates are as high as they were when the COVID-19 pandemic first started in March and April and are remaining that way for the foreseeable future. There is limited air transportation service out of China, Hong Kong, and Indonesia, while air service is delayed out of the Philippines due to a typhoon, so delays are expected. 

Trucking 

Christmas tree season continues, so trucking capacity is expected to remain tight. Capacity will worsen in Christmas tree producing areas such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maine, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and northern California. As people continue to order trees throughout the holiday season, these trucking shortages are likely to continue until after Christmas. 

Vietnam Tariffs See Mixed Reviews, Equipment Shortage at West Coast Ports Worsens, and Trucking Delays at LAX Airport

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Ocean  

Ocean carrier space out of Asia is still hard to find. For many places out of China, space is either full or limited until mid or end of December. In Vietnam, space is either tight or full for the next 4 weeks, while space in Malaysia and Thailand shows no sign of getting back to normal until the end of December or even early January. Other Asian countries like Indonesia, Cambodia, India, and Korea have tight capacity through early January. Unless a booking is cancelled somewhere, it will still be difficult to secure a booking out of these countries. If you need help navigating these issues, reach out to one of our Freight Experts.

Customs  

Vietnam tariffs see both support and opposition in response to Section 301 investigations by the Trump administration. There were mixed reviews by the public on the ongoing Section 301 investigations of timber and currency valuing against Vietnam. If a successful solution isn’t reached, these investigations could result in tariffs and quotas on Vietnamese imports, thus, affecting importers of wood products from Vietnam. However, nothing is finalized yet. The public comments are available in an online docket at regulations.gov.  

Ports 

There are calls to suspend detention and demurrage fees to improve congestion at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. Because of the spike in imports from Asia arriving at the ports, coalitions of shipping and trucker organizations are calling for the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to suspend detention and demurrage charges to reduce the congestion. Ocean carriers, however, say that doing so may actually further cause congestion at the ports, and are instead offering other options like dual transactions, open more weekend gates, and provide truckers with more advanced information on any operational changes at the ports. Delays can still be expected from these ports. 

U.S. West Coast ports continue to see delays and congestion due to equipment shortages. These equipment shortages have actually worsened, with a lack of 40GP and 40HQ containers, while the availability of 20GP containers is much better. Because of this availability of 20GP containers, it is recommended that customers accept these containers because it will be much easier to get equipment and may save money in the meantime. If you have trouble navigating these equipment shortages, reach out to one of our Freight Experts

Air

Air freight rates remain stable but still high. With ocean capacity remaining tight for the next several weeks and months, air freight rates are as high as they were when the COVID-19 pandemic first started in March and April and are remaining that way for the foreseeable future. Because of this increase, capacity remains tight and delays are expected. 

Trucking 

There has been congestion for truckers at LAX Airport. Trucks have been reportedly waiting between four to eight hours to receive cargo at the airport, and these wait times have been even more pronounced this peak season. If you ship cargo out of LAX Airport, shipments may be delayed. 

Christmas tree season starts this week, so trucking capacity is expected to be tight. Capacity will worsen in Christmas tree producing areas such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maine, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and northern California. With stores usually stocked by Thanksgiving and with no Black Friday this year, some trees may be shipped even earlier. As people continue to order trees throughout the holiday season, these trucking shortages are likely to continue until after Christmas.

Ocean and Air Rates Remain Stagnant, Congestion Continues at U.S. West Coast Ports, and Christmas Tree Season Limits Trucking Capacity

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Ocean  

Ocean freight rates remain stable, but space and equipment are still difficult to find in Asia. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications of China has told ocean carriers rates cannot be increased to a higher rate level than the rates quoted on September 15th, so it’s expected that the current rates will be the ceiling rates for the year. Space and equipment will continue to be extremely tight until after Chinese New Year. Because of these shortages, expect some shipments to be delayed. Booking four weeks in advance is still necessary, however, in order to have the best possible chance of securing a container and a booking as soon as possible. For the next three weeks, there is virtually no space on vessels unless a booking is cancelled, so reach out to one of our Customs Experts if you need help navigating these issues.

Customs  

The European Union imposed tariffs on U.S. imports this week. On Tuesday, November 10th, the EU placed $4 billion worth of tariffs on U.S. imports as part of a long-running transatlantic dispute over aircraft subsidies

In Vietnam, more Section 301 investigations have been opened, alleging illegal timber sourcing and suspicions of currency fixing. Specific rates and HTS numbers are still unknown and it could amount to tariff rates of 200% or more. Comments on the investigations are open until today (November 12th). It is possible that a decision on the investigation will not be made for another 30 days. 

Section 232 tariffs on aluminum from Canada have been reversed by President Donald Trump. This reverse applies retroactively to September 1st, however, any imports of aluminum subject to the tariffs before September 1st will still be subject to the tariffs upon entry for consumption, according to the President. 

It is a triennial year for customs brokers. Starting on December 15th, customs brokers will need to file a status report with U.S. Customs Border and Protection (CPB). The deadline to file the status report will most likely be in February – three years after the 2018 deadline. 

Ports  

Hurricane Eta makes landfall in Florida, which may cause shipping issues. If the storm heads up the coast, it will likely worsen capacity in areas like Savannah, GA, and Charleston, SC. 

Congestion and delays continue at U.S. West Coast ports. For the past couple of weeks, congestion has increased and so far, congestion hasn’t been ameliorated or exacerbated. There are shortages of 20’ and 45’ containers, while 40’ containers are also seeing delays between 5-15 days. Vessels are anchoring offshore waiting for a berth for unloading. Shipping lines are combatting waiting times while anchored by slow steaming en route, which further increases transit times. If you have any issues navigating these delays, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Freight Experts.

Air  

Air freight rates remain stagnant but still high. With ocean capacity remaining tight for the next several weeks and months, air freight rates are as high as they were when the COVID-19 pandemic first started in March and April and are remaining that way for the foreseeable future. Because of this increase, capacity remains tight and delays are expected. 

Trucking  

There are trucking shortages in certain areas as Christmas tree season starts next week. Capacity will worsen in Christmas tree producing areas such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maine, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and northern California. Stores are usually stocked by Thanksgiving and with no Black Friday this year, some trees may be shipped even earlier. These trucking shortages may continue until after Christmas as people continue to order trees throughout the holiday season.

Ocean Capacity Remains Tight, Delays at Panama Canal, Air Cargo to be Pushed Aside for COVID-19 Supplies

By | COVID-19 Latest Updates | No Comments

Ocean  

Ocean freight space is still hard to come by. Many parts of Asia are still experiencing tight capacity with very low vessel space. In China, there’s no space on vessels except for the southern region where space still remains completely tight. Areas in Southeast Asia are full for the next few weeks and may continue to be tight for the next month, so continue to expect delays in shipments for the foreseeable future.

Customs  

The European Union is expected to trigger tariffs on nearly $4 billion worth of U.S. goods on November 10th. These tariffs are in retaliation over illegal aid to Boeing, Co. The EU aims to impose these tariffs regardless of the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. 

There is a holding pattern with cases presented to the Court of International Trade (CIT). Thousands of complaints have been filed regarding the legality of Section 301 tariffs. While the timing and outcome of the decision by the CIT are unknown, it is expected to move through the Court of Appeals and possibly the Supreme Court before there is a final resolution.

There are still daily messaging issues between U.S. Customs and terminals/carriers. Terminals and carriers are not receiving release statuses from Customs, which could potentially increase storage charges and cause other unexpected costs for businesses. If you’re having trouble navigating these costs or are confused about why these issues are happening, contact one of our Customs Experts.   

In Vietnam, more Section 301 investigations have been opened, alleging illegal timber sourcing and suspicions of currency fixing. Specific rates and HTS numbers are still unknown and it could amount to tariff rates of 200% or more. Comments on the investigations are open until November 12th.

Ports  

As congestion increases at U.S. West Coast ports due to imports from Asia, the U.S. Gulf ports are handling a larger share of these imports. Logistics experts say that the U.S. Gulf region can become a greater gateway for Asian imports as ocean carriers add more capacity in the area.  

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are worsening as congestion increases. The sheer volume of imports is making the ports as chaotic as it can be, with delays and lines of trucks and lack of appointments for loads out, loads in, or empties in. With this congestion, expect rates to maintain or rise through November. If you need help with solutions on how to expedite processes, contact one of our Customs Experts.

The ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert experience longer dwell times as import volumes increase. Because of higher than expected container volumes, there are longer transit times between ports, causing delays of up to several days. It is likely that these delays will continue into November, but operational challenges will diminish by the end of the month.

Ships are delayed at the Panama Canal, with the COVID-19 pandemic only making it worse. Ships have been waiting for days to pass through the Panama Canal because the pandemic has affected staffing at the canal, thus causing this congestion. Because of this congestion, delays are highly expected.

Air  

General air cargo to be pushed aside for COVID-19 vaccine supplies. In the coming months, air transportation delays will be likely as any new releases of COVID-19 vaccine supplies will take priority. Shippers of commodities like auto parts, wine, apparel, and telecommunications equipment will most likely be affected.

Air freight rates continue to increase. With ocean capacity remaining tight for the next several weeks and months, air freight rates are still on the rise. Because of this increase, capacity remains tight and delays are expected.

Trucking  

Trucking capacity at the tightest point since 2018 – if not tighter. Truckload carrier executives are warning shippers to expect a “low-level double-digit” rate increases by 2021 to keep up with the supporting wage increases for drivers. Because trucking capacity remains tight, bookings are still difficult to come by and shipments are still likely to be delayed.

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