BRi News - Important News Update 29th April 21


Dear all Valued Customers


Carrier On-Time Performance Improves Marginally to West Coast


Vessel on-time performance improved slightly to the US West Coast in March and slipped a bit to the East Coast as vessel bunching continues to cause delays in ports on both coasts.


Carrier on-time performance in March increased 3.3 percentage points from February to 14 percent for services from Asia to the US West Coast, but declined 1.1 percentage points to 12 percent to the US East Coast, marking the worst March on record for carrier reliability to both coasts.


Carriers’ on-time performance in the Asia-US trades significantly underperformed schedule reliability globally, which improved 5.8 percentage points month over month in March to 40.4 percent, according to the Global Liner Performance report released Tuesday by Sea-Intelligence Maritime Analysis.


Near-record US import volumes from Asia are expected to challenge carriers and ports through the peak-shipping season, as US gateways have already struggled with heightened volumes for the past nine consecutive months.


After the vessel backlogs began at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex, carriers launched new services at Oakland and Seattle-Tacoma to take some of the strain off the Southern California gateway. Now, vessel bunching has began to increase in Oakland, although overall on-time reliability on the West Coast improved month over month in March.


Some East Coast ports are also seeing more traffic as shippers rerouted their shipments away from the West Coast. On a number of days in February and March, more than 20 vessels were at anchor in Savannah awaiting berth, according to the Georgia Ports Authority.


BRi USA is continuing to monitor the ongoing global supply chain delays and providing updates to clients with affected freight as needed.


Major US Ports Status Update


Below is a general overview of the operations BRi USA has been able to gather for most major ports. This list will be updated as information is made available.


Port of Seattle and Tacoma – Despite handling 30 ad-hoc vessel calls so far this year, the Northwest Seaport Alliance ports have experienced only sporadic incidents of vessels being unable to move directly to berth upon arrival, and the time spent at anchor has generally been less than 24 hours, said the ports. Demand for transloading operations continue to grow in the warehouse and distribution region outside of Seattle and Tacoma, too. The Port of Seattle is seeing vessel wait times of 3 days. All terminals are open for normal operations this week. 


Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach – One of the drayage providers servicing LA-LB announced they have invested in an additional 100 long-term lease chassis that will arrive to LA-LB in May. These chassis will help supplement the stressed supply for the southern California region. Meanwhile, ship congestion eased over the past week, with the number of container vessels waiting to enter the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach staying below 20 for five straight days. Nonetheless, delays for port cargo or for cargo to be moved inland by rail have been excessive - railcar turn times average 10 days currently. Currently the Port of Los Angeles is experiencing Yard Utilization at 85% and Vessel Wait Times of 5-6 days. Meanwhile, the Port of Long Beach is seeing Yard Utilization at 65%, Vessel Wait Times of 3-6 days, and chassis availability is tight. All terminals are open for normal operations this week. 


Port of Oakland – Cargo flow has been hampered in Oakland by late-arriving vessels, which then have to wait their turn to call at one of the port’s container terminals. There were 20 container ships at anchor awaiting berthing space at the port on Thursday, down from the mid-20s earlier in the month. The port said the number of vessels at anchor is declining because of structural blank sailings — e.g., voyages cancelled because a vessel is so far off schedule owing to delays in Asia and Los Angeles-Long Beach that it will miss its next scheduled sailing.

As those blank sailings take place, fewer vessels will arrive and back up at anchor in Oakland. Vessels port stays continue to increase in all terminals in the harbor due to the increase in import volumes. Terminals are limited to 2 gangs per vessels on most shifts due to the unavailability on of the needed labour to cover the current demand. The other setback is that shipping is only allowed to work 1 vessel at a time at SSA Terminal. Yard Utilization is at 95%. Vessel wait times are 10 - 14 days. All terminals are open for normal operations this week.


Port of Houston – The port has reported seeing significant increases in cargo. According to Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther in a statement this week, “As container demand surges across our docks, our terminals remain efficient and free of congestion to provide the best service levels to our customers.” Vessel wait time is 6 - 12 hours. Truck capacity and chassis availability have improved this week. All terminals are open for normal operations this week. 


Port of New York/New Jersey – All terminals are open for normal operations this week. 


Port of Virginia - The Port of Virginia reports that it is moving record-breaking volumes of goods as the economy begins to normalize, as March was the second-best month in the history of the Port of Virginia. All terminals are open for normal operations this week.


North Carolina Ports - All terminals are open for normal operations this week.


South Carolina Ports -The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) has launched legal action against Hapag-Lloyd and the US Maritime Alliance. The ILA says the labour operating the new Hugh K Leatherman container terminal at the port of Charleston are not ILA members and handling the vessel breached the master contract between the ILA and the US Maritime Alliance (USMX) – the organization that represents carriers and terminals in master contract negotiations with the ILA. Charleston is currently seeing vessel wait times of 0 - 12 hours. All terminals are open for normal operations this week. 


GA Ports - The Georgia Ports Authority released a detailed a plan that expedites completion of more than 1.4 million additional TEUs of annual capacity. Expansion efforts include the Peak Capacity project, which will add 650,000 TEUs of annual container yard capacity in two phases at Garden City Terminal, with the first phase opening in five months. Another main component of the expansion plan is the development of 92 acres GPA purchased last year adjacent to the Mason Mega Rail Terminal. Housing approximately 40 rubber-tired gantry cranes and adding 750,000 TEUs of annual capacity, the development will be commissioned within two years. At this time, the Port of Savannah is experiencing delays of 1- 2 days. Truck capacity remains tight. All terminals are open for normal operations this week.


Port NOLA - The Port of New Orleans’s two main container terminals will hold off, for now, collecting an additional fee from shippers on loaded containers after receiving a complaint from one of the port’s major customers. The terminals say the fees are meant to fund upgrade projects so they can keep up with future growth. However, the fees drew the ire of coffee importers, who have complained to the terminals and the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) that the fees are an undue burden at a time of ever-increasing shipping costs. 


JAXPORT - On Monday, Puerto Rico Ports Authority (PRPA) and JAXPORT signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to affirm the ongoing work of both organizations to grow maritime trade between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico. Jacksonville is the number one port in the United States for trade with Puerto Rico, handling nearly 90 percent of all sea trade between the island and the U.S. mainland. Puerto Rico is also Jacksonville’s number one trading partner by annual cargo volume, with nearly 800,000 container units and thousands of automobiles shipped annually between the two regions.


Delays in India Due to Covid-19 Outbreak


India continues to struggle with COVID-19 infections and areas of the country entered a two-week lockdown on April 27. During the lockdown, a curfew is in place and essential services can operate from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. As logistics operations are considered an essential service, freight is still moving but not without massive delays:


  • All ports and CFS stations are operating, but with limited staff.
  • Indian Customs is working on a rotating basis at ports and airports.
  • Many passenger airlines have withdrawn service to India, which is decreasing the availability of air cargo space. Freighters are still operational, but must be secured with an advance booking. Airport cargo ground handlers are working on a rotating basis.
  • There are no restriction for vehicle movements (intra and inter-state). However, truckers are only accepting advance bookings with all appropriate documentation ready.


Striking Montreal Longshore Workers Warn Canadian Government Against Intervening


Montreal longshore workers on Tuesday told Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that federal intervention in their ongoing strike isn’t necessary and would taint the bargaining process. Workers said they would return to work if employers agreed to withdraw a work schedule change and offered to reinstate job security protections. 


Canada’s parliament is scheduled to debate a bill Tuesday introduced by the federal labour minister that would require the 1,150 dockworkers at Montreal to return to work. 


Global Container Positioning Still Problematic, Despite Sufficient Equipment


The global container availability crisis is unlikely to ease before the end of the year – despite 2021 likely being a record-breaker in terms of new boxes delivered.


According to Drewry Shipping Consultants, around 1.4m TEU of new containers were delivered in the first quarter, around 10% more than in the final quarter of last year and 21% more than in Q1 20.


“Based on current activity, we believe the full-year 2021 production could be more than 4.7m TEU. That would be a record year for container production, beating the 4.42m TEU produced in 2018 and 52% up on the 3.1m TEU delivered last year,” they said.


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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 queries, please do not hesitate to contact your Customer Solutions Representative.


Keeping you updated,

BRi Customer Solutions Team.

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