USA shipping, Southbound to NZ

The following brief on the USA market is particularly important for all US importers to read. This is a direct copy from our US partner. Any questions or concerns please be in contact for assistance.

WEST COAST USA

 The next direct vessel to depart from the West Coast is the Cap Jervis 152 sailing ex Long Beach on 06 April.

There are no vessels departing USA/Canada to New Zealand for the whole of March, one vessel scheduled for April, no vessels scheduled for until end of May at this moment. Transhipment carriers (Cosco, OOCL, Maersk) still have suspended bookings ex West Coast to Oceania and have all updated this week to advise that they are not taking bookings. Seattle / Tacoma ports remain omissions and schedules are not reflecting any options until April at this stage. Oakland to New Zealand will fall under omitted sailings so there is no future sailings from now until mid-April at the earliest. Long Beach / Los Angeles – there are still over 100 vessels at anchor pending berth and working.   (As of Tuesday, 101 vessels recorded at anchor.)     

At this stage, carriers are advising they are already booked for Cap Jervis 152 for FCL shipments, and we do not know when the next sailing West Coast to New Zealand will be after this.


EAST COAST

At this stage vessels remain overbooked for 3-4 weeks; some port pairs are booked until end of March with April sailings not yet released.

Philadelphia – no space available until end of March; subject to change as these are spot bookings. East Coast ports and terminals are reporting record congestion and Charleston Port in particular has had various embargos on container receipt which has meant loaded containers are still sitting on trucker chassis unable to gate in and/or at Charleston rail-head unable to deliver to port.

Even groupage container bookings are frequently cancelled or severely limited and cargo is loading on first in / first out basis.    Late gates are not permitted as cut-off dates are frequently changing without notice.   We have also had bookings where no empty containers have been available, particularly for Atlanta depot, and the shipping line has cancelled the booking as a result.

Rail and Port Issues / Truckers – FCL and LCL

With the new wave of Covid infections, truckers are reporting they are down 50-60% of available drivers.   There will be delays – no way around that.    We have had situations in our own depots where four out of six shifts are unavailable to work.    We’ve also had a situation where one office was struck down to a grand total of two people.   New York port has also had days where only 30% of their workforce have been available for work, and vessels have had to leave without any containers loading.

January 2022 absences due to infection at Los Angeles / Long Beach port exceeded all of 2021 absences.                             

FCL Bookings

There will be delays here, and there are origins we simply cannot service and accept bookings from if we cannot source any options.

We cannot book space randomly or as a holding booking – there are fines and charges for any changes after cargo is booked.

Load dates are going to change constantly in line with ERD / LRD (earliest and last receipt dates at rail/ports), which will mean truckers constantly have to be rescheduled.

Shipping lines continue to cancel bookings without notice, leaving us in a tricky situation, but unavoidable.

Truckers are all reporting major delays for empty containers / chassis equipment, and in some instances, this will result in bookings having to roll.   With such infrequent sailings, it’s the worst situation, but also outside our control.   To make this worse, ports have been opening vessels for 48 hours only at times, with one day notice at most.

For the past month, no carriers have been approving / providing hazardous approvals for any FCL shipments from any ports.  

LCL Bookings

Much as we appreciate all suggestions to simply use other ports and move everything via the East Coast, it’s just not feasible and the East Coast is under real pressure also.   We’ve had two weeks in a row where all groupage LCL bookings have been cancelled, so backlog is building in New York and Atlanta with very few options to move the cargo.   Cargo will be moved on first in; first out basis.

Even groupage container bookings are frequently cancelled or severely limited and cargo is loading on first in / first out basis.    Late gates are not permitted as cut-off dates are frequently changing without notice.   We have also had bookings where no empty containers have been available, particularly for Atlanta depot, and shipping line has cancelled the booking as a result.

Hazardous cargo is getting more and more difficult to get approval for and load.   All/any hazardous cargo will be subject to approval from the shipping lines / vessel owners, and there will be delays.   This is outside our control also.

Cancellation Fees – FCL/Truckers

This is happening more and more often, with customers making bookings to secure space even if they don’t have a valid shipment or ready date for their cargo.  If this does happen, there will be cancellation fees and these are approximately USD 300-600 per container, depending on the shipping line.   It’s not as simple to make bookings anymore, and once we lock in a booking, we are liable for charges if we don’t honour it.  There is also potential for truckers to charge cancellation fees, which will always be passed on at cost if incurred.

 Following are some links that may be of interest.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/port-congestion-spreads-across-more-u-s-import-gateways-11643397131

https://capitolweekly.net/california-grapples-with-port-congestion-supply-chain-kinks/

https://www.dailybreeze.com/2022/01/14/omicron-hits-longshore-ranks-as-absences-grow-in-ports-of-long-beach-la/

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