Retailers are upping their forecast for imports for the next several months. As U.S. imports are expected to rise, this forecasting suggests that shippers will have an even more difficult time trying to find vessel space in Asia. Additionally, ports in the U.S. West and East Coasts may face increasing congestion and import surges in the peak season between summer and fall.
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 continue booking with the premium services.
India’s COVID-19 cases and restrictions affect supply chains, congestion, cargo slowdowns, and crewing. Restrictions in India following the surge of COVID-19 cases and deaths are resulting in labor shortages — particularly for the trucking industry in the country. Even though demand remains relatively steady still, if COVID-19 cases and deaths continue, this disruption could affect port congestion, delivery times, and the country’s export prospects.
Additionally, the Chinese coastal city of Zhoushan is banning vessels that have passed through or changed crews in India in the last three months, citing concerns about India’s COVID-19 situation. Meanwhile, Singapore and Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates are preventing ships from changing crew members that passed through India, causing even more complications for crewing. While cargo ships are still calling at Indian ports, dock workers are also falling ill from the virus, further hampering port operations. Our Navegate team will keep you updated about the ongoing COVID-19 situation in India and how it may affect your business.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) eliminates a portal where industry members can request a DUNS number. This portal will end on May 24, 2021, so importers will have to gather that information from suppliers directly to obtain a DUNS number when submitting an FDA entry. While the DUNS number isn’t a mandatory data element, it is highly recommended to still include it in entries.
The FDA opens a portal for importers of human and animal food into the U.S. Called the FSVP Importer Portal for FSVP Records Submission (Portal), the portal allows food importers to electronically upload FSVP records directly to the FDA for program compliance if they choose. More information on the new portal can be found on the Code of Federal Regulations website.
More protests are being approved for tariff exclusion refunds. After several months, our team is starting to see some movement for refunds for the Section 301 tariffs. Due to the unprecedented number of protests being filed, the protest process is taking longer than usual; it is also unclear as to how long it will take for Customs to review the outstanding protests. Therefore, your broker will notify you of any updates as they are received from Customs.
Port terminals at NY-NJ up capacity amid a surge of imports. As a wave of imports coming into the U.S. shows no signs of easing, marine terminals at the Port of NY-NJ plan to increase container handling and reduce the time truckers spend at port facilities. The plans include implementing new yard equipment and ship-to-shore cranes, more efficient gates for truckers, and ways for shippers to quickly retrieve more containers.
High rates and capacity constraints continue for the air freight sector. With equipment and labor shortages, import surges and record volumes for shipping, finding air space capacity will be difficult. More shippers are also turning to air for cross-border transport, which is also increasing air cargo rates, and the market is already running at peak levels five months before peak season normally starts, according to FreightWaves.
Cyberattack shuts down Colonial Pipeline, causing diesel outages. A major pipeline system that transports fuel across the East Coast has been breached by a cyberattack, halting pipeline operations to deal with the threat. It’s been nearly a week since the attack, and there is an increasing number of outlets with no diesel supplies, affecting routes from New Jersey to Texas and lanes from Nashville to north Florida. Our team has been also seeing reports of truckers only being able to fill up to 50 gallons at once. As of Wednesday evening, the pipeline was restored, but it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal, so delays should be expected. If you have questions regarding the pipeline outage, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experts.
ICYMI: 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.
ICYMI: 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 JOC.com.
New Southern California pollution rules will hike warehouse costs. A Southern California regulatory agency has approved new air pollution rules that will increase warehouse operations costs. These rules are expected to reduce total emissions from warehouses themselves and the millions of truck trips that generate harmful emissions. These new rules are not expected to stymie growth in the area or result in cargo diversion in Southern California.