COVID-19 Latest Updates

Extreme Peak Season in Store, Ocean Capacity is Reinstated, and Merchandise Processing Fees are Increasing

By September 24, 2020 No Comments


Supply chain leaders are warning that an extreme peak season may be in store this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated truck driver availability issues, and experts don’t expect that to let up before we hit the peak of the holiday shipping season. 


As shipping activity picks up, all three major ocean alliances have formally reinstated all capacity, cancelling blank sailings for the remainder of the year. Many are also fighting to return empty containers and secure equipment capacity in Asia, as backups mount in getting U.S.-bound goods out of the region. 

Threatening to make the impending peak season even worse, sailors are facing dire conditions aboard container ships. Due to travel restrictions set in place to quell the spread of COVID-19, many crew members have been essentially stranded on their ships for spans as long as 14 months. Some shippers are facing major fines for breaching international maritime law, and crew members face exhaustion, deteriorating living conditions, and limited food supplies.


More exclusion extensions trickle in as we approach a series of fall deadlines. Two lists of exclusions were extended this week, now set to expire at the end of the year. Check the extension notices for headings 9903.88.58 and 9903.88.59 to see if your imports are on them. 

Merchandise Processing Fees (MFPs) will be changing come October 1st. The fees, charged as a percentage of overall value for every U.S. import, have increased. These changes aren’t likely to have dramatic impacts on businesses, but we’re happy to help you plan for them.

After last week’s news of a challenge to the Trump administration’s expansion of tariffs on Chinese goods, nearly 3,000 cases were filed with the U.S. Court of International Trade. What comes next is unclear, but should any of the cases succeed in court, legal experts recommend that those who did not file a case of their own file a protest in junction. Interested in filing a protest? We can help.


Air freight is certainly no exemption to the strains of the incoming peak season, especially as Chinese Golden Week approaches. The holiday, which spans from October 1st through October 7th, will cause downtime and delays, leaving shippers scrambling to get outbound cargo space prior to the start of the holiday.


The chassis shortage continues, as major carriers urge cargo owners to return empty containers. Many of these containers have been used to store imports amid lowered consumer demand, leaving carriers largely powerless.

Canadian Pacific Railway and Maersk have announced plans to build a transload and distribution facility in Vancouver, expanding options for imports through Canada. The facility, which has no anticipated completion date, promises to offer more efficient and more sustainable options for cargo owners, as Maersk focuses its efforts on combating climate change.