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Dear all Valued Customers
Longshore Labour Availability Improves Significantly in LA-LB
The West Coast longshore employers’ association and union have hired and trained hundreds of dockworkers in Los Angeles-Long Beach in recent months to handle growing cargo volumes, but they both agree that more hiring is required to handle record container volumes that are congesting the ports.
“There’s no end in sight. We’re going to keep after it,” said Jim McKenna, president of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), which represents terminal operators on the West Coast.
Employers and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) have made significant progress in mitigating the labour shortage that has hampered cargo-handling at the largest US gateway since late 2020. While current requests for labour from the 12 container terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are largely being filled, experts agree that a shortage of skilled equipment operators is the biggest contributor to the labour shortage on the docks in Los Angeles-Long Beach.
Last summer, the COVID-19 outbreak among dockworkers depleted the workforce and led to an even more strained supply chain. Now, it's been reported that over 8,000 workers have been vaccinated, and as a result, about 400 to 500 more longshoremen per shift are reporting to the docks now than were working last summer.
While labour numbers are improving, the port complex is continuing to see record import volumes that has stretched the Southern California supply chain to capacity, including the warehouses, rail operations and chassis supply. BRi USA will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they are made available.
For more information or concerns regarding your shipments, please reach out to your BRI USA Representative.
US Consumer Demand for Goods and Low Inventories Will Keep Freight Rates High
Consumers in the United States and the country’s low retail inventories could keep freight rates elevated post-pandemic.
Experts say a resurgence of consumer spending on services - in favour of physical goods - won’t necessarily put a dent in the record freight levels seen during the COVID-19 crisis. Since inventories are still depleted due to the ongoing consumer demand, there will still be much shipping to be done as companies work to build their inventory levels back up stateside.
Furthermore, with shipping lines “absolutely committed” to managing capacity to meet demand, it’s unlikely there will be a return to below-cost freight rates anytime over the next decade.
Suez Blockage Repercussions Will Last Until June in Europe
The many bottlenecks and delays caused by Ever Given, which blocked the Suez Canal for almost a week, look set to ease in early June in Europe.
By analysing European ship traffic to make an estimate of how long the consequences of the Suez blockage will last, forecasters were able to determine a baseline the market must return to in order to call it a normalization.
While the European trade route will see normalcy in June, it is clear that there will also be direct impact on other trades such as Middle East/Indian Subcontinent to/from Europe, as well as Asia-US East Coast via Suez.
Air Freight Sees Some Relief as Hong Kong Relaxes Crew Quarantine Rule
Hong Kong has eased its airline crew quarantine measures – a move that will allow some airlines to regain their full complement of cargo capacity.
In February, Hong Kong imposed a 14-day quarantine for locally based crew, but the government has now lifted the quarantine requirement for crew who are fully vaccinated – excluding those in the UK and South Africa.
There had been an exemption for flights arriving from Anchorage, which will remain, while crews flying in from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Thailand will also no longer be subject to mandatory quarantine on return to Hong Kong. The changes were applicable from Friday.
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As a valued customer, we hope that you will continue to trust us to source the best options for your supply chain needs now and into the future. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your Customer Solutions Representative.
Keeping you updated,
BRi Customer Solutions Team.Back to News Page