COVID-19 Latest Updates

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

By November 5, 2020 No Comments


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.


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.


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.


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 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.