COVID-19 Latest Updates

Container Shortages and Shipping Rates Increase, Port of Montreal Workers Return to Work, and Air Cargo Supply Chain is Maxed Out

By May 6, 2021 No Comments


The CMA CGM Group announces the order of 22 new vessels. Last week, CMA CGM signed with CSSC Group for an order for 12 LNG-powered containerships and 10 VSFO-powered containerships. The order aims to accommodate market growth for the carrier and is expected to join the group’s fleet between 2023 and 2024. 

Container shortages make it difficult to secure space at Asian hubs. Ports across the board in China are strained and short on containers, so it will be difficult to secure space in the next coming weeks. Additionally, the premium services are likely unavoidable, so shippers should be prepared to book with the premium services (with the port of Xiamen applying the premium service on a case by case basis). 

Container shipping rates increase as demand surges. The rate for a 40-foot container from Los Angeles to Shanghai reached $4,403 last week, the highest since 2011. Caused by stimulus payments and COVID-19 vaccinations increasing, the consumption of goods has inundated supply chains around the world, indicating that high seaborne freight rates and stretched capacity will continue into its second year. Therefore, shippers should expect high rates and constrained capacity for the foreseeable future.  


India continues to experience mass COVID-19 infections and deaths. India has been experiencing very high levels of COVID-19 infections, with a seven-day average of approximately 330,000 cases. Due to these high levels of COVID-19, businesses and ports may be affected in the country. Our team is still monitoring how this will affect business out of India and keep you updated. 

ICYMI: Our team is seeing more bond insufficiencies. We’re reminding importers to actively monitor their import volumes. Bond values are based on a 12-month rolling duty and fee total, so monthly changes in import volumes could have a large impact on your bond requirements. Therefore, it’s recommended to be proactive in adjusting bond values before you receive a mandated increase from Customs. If you need help navigating these bond insufficiencies, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experts


Delays and labor constraints continue at major ports on the U.S. West Coast. According to an update from Maersk, the Ports of Vancouver and Seattle are now operating at 120% of yard capacity, and the average vessel wait time for Vancouver is seven days and four days for Seattle. In Vancouver, there is limited terminal capacity, so containers are only discharged off vessels when other on-terminal containers exit the gates. 

Further south, labor constraints at the Ports of Los Angeles and Oakland continue to strain capacity. The Port of Long Beach has an average of 20-25 vessels at anchor with an 8-11 day wait time. At Oakland, there’s an average of 15-20 vessels at anchor with a 10-15 day wait time.

The Port of Montreal workers are returning to work. After Canadian lawmaker’s voted for legislation mandating the workers to come back to work, the longshore workers’ five-day strike was defeated. The port has said that it will take several days to restore normal cargo flow as the terminal operators handle 10 vessels waiting at the port. Therefore, shippers should expect delays in the next several weeks.  

South Carolina ports are expanding at inland rail terminals to accommodate growing volumes. The South Carolina Ports Authority is adding space for more containers and chassis at Inland Port Greer after the hub received more cargo in March than any other facility at South Carolina ports since 2013. The new space will accommodate longer trains carrying containers to and from the port, and construction is expected to wrap up in 2023. 

Hapag-Lloyd identifies a new yard to store NY-NJ containers. As part of the ocean carrier’s two-month plan to relieve a backlog of empty containers piling up due to record import surges, Hapag-Lloyd has stated that a new container yard will start accepting these empty containers. Experts say that finding storage for containers has been difficult and only contributed to bottlenecks in port trucking. 


Air cargo supply chain is “maxed out.” As demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) and e-commerce increases, port delays forcing urgent cargo into the air, and manufacturers building buffer stocks, the air cargo industry is overstretched. It’s likely that this capacity strain won’t slow down anytime soon and will continue through the rest of the year and perhaps 2022. If you have any questions about air freight capacity, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experts


Constraints on trucking capacity are expected to last through the end of the year. According to freight industry experts, the ongoing squeeze on the trucking industry isn’t going away anytime soon, so prices for shippers will continue to increase. Combined with a shortage of trucks and drivers and a strong demand in a rebounding economy, there’s more freight than the industry is able to handle. More information on the trucking industry capacity can be found in an article by the Wall Street Journal Logistics Report


Union Pacific (UP) will build a transload facility in the greater Chicago area. In an effort to give exporters more capacity, UP will be opening up a transload facility in the fourth quarter. The facility will provide more capacity for agricultural shippers and their commodities as container lines add capacity in the Pacific Northwest amid rising demand. Additionally, the “facility will offer exporters greater access to ocean containers and faster turnaround of the equipment for container lines,” according to