BRi NEWS - U.S. Carriers Ask FAA to Allow Shipments in Passenger Cabins



Dear all Valued Customers




With a global shortage of air cargo space and extraordinary demand to move emergency medical supplies, some overseas passenger airlines are taking out the seats on aircraft to make more room for freight. U.S. airlines are also asking the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for permission to fly cargo in the main deck where passengers normally sit, including the option of removing seats, an industry source said.




A decision on basic main-deck loading is expected very soon. FAA sign-off for more complex modifications could take a couple weeks longer, the source said, adding “the exact framework for seat loading under U.S. regulations is not yet fully elaborated.” Adding, “almost every domestic airline is interested in using the cabin for cargo in some form.”




While an FAA spokesperson would not speculate the agency’s position on such requests, several airlines have confirmed they are working with the FAA. Those with ongoing requests include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.




The decision to turn the airplanes into double-deck freighters underscores the global shortage of air cargo space and the pressure on airlines to find revenue anywhere possible after the coronavirus halted nearly all travel and forced carriers to ground most of their fleets.




A month ago, many passenger airlines began offering their aircraft to cargo customers on a charter basis. Then some international carriers began flying cargo-only routes on regular schedules, while others utilized cabin space by putting light boxes in the seats. The fact that airlines are taking the next step and spending money to remove seats also reflects sky-high airfreight rates that airlines can command and the fact that passenger traffic won’t return to pre-coronavirus levels anytime soon.




India Extends Lockdown




India extended a lockdown on its 1.3 billion people until at least May 3 this week as the country’s coronavirus cases increased dramatically.




While those working in the logistics industry are considered essential, many are working from home.




For those required on-site, lack of public transportation availability, state border closures and curfews have made it difficult for workers to report to the job.




As a result, the logistics industry is experiencing significant delays.




BRI USA has received the following update from our global partners on the logistics conditions in India:




  • Carriers continue to announce blank sailings and vessel delays. Port operations continue to be delayed due to berthing delays. Some carriers’ staff are opening offices on alternating days to facilitate the release of bills of lading and issue delivery orders.
  • Few freighters are operating. Few airlines have announced ad hoc freighter shipments to offer more capacity. Airports continue to work with limited staff.
  • Container freight stations continue to be congested due to importers not taking deliveries of discharged containers.
  • Most truckers are unable to accept orders due to the lack of availability of drivers. Those that are working are only picking up essential commodities at this time. Authorities are preparing to assist truckers to return to work from outside areas once the lockdown is lifted.
  • General storage warehouses are also congested due to lack of availability of forklift drivers, crane operators, etc.




Below is a general overview of the operations BRi USA has been able to gather for most major U.S. ports.




This list will be updated as information is made available.




Port of Seattle and Tacoma - A resolution has been reached between SSA and the ILWU through the arbitration process after issues over working in Terminal 18 due to a worker confirming a positive COVID-19 test late last week. All terminals are fully operational and the port continue to move cargo while continuing to provide workers emergency supplies and other daily necessities for sanitation.




Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach – The ports continue to work with the Harbor Trucking Association and the California Trucking Association to expedite the incoming shipments of medical supplies. In addition to funnelling these goods to Los Angeles area hospitals, the port is also working to provide necessary masks and supplies to port employees, truckers, etc.




Port of Oakland – The Port of Oakland is poised to receive their largest container ship this week, the MSC Anna, a 1,312-foot ship carrying 19,200 TEU. The ship is on special assignment collecting a backlog of empty containers in Southern California before arriving in Oakland.




Port of Houston - Port of Houston volumes that grew 11 percent year over year to 773,087 TEU in the first quarter of 2020, despite an 11 percent decline in March. The port experienced seven blank sailings on Asian services in March, and is expecting at least two in April or May. Both Barbours Cut and Bayport Terminals remain open with normal operating hours.




Port of New York/New Jersey - The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) says it is no longer concerned about a potential container bottleneck at marine terminals in April and May after surveying warehouse operators supporting the largest East Coast gateway. The port is compiling a database of available space as a resource for those that need it.




Port of Boston – In mid-May the Port of Boston is launching a new barge service that will provide an all-water connection to the New England markets. This barge will provide direct service between Global Container Terminal (GCT) in Bayonne, NJ and the Port of Boston for THE Alliance ocean carriers: Yang Ming, Hapag-Lloyd, Ocean Network Express (ONE) and Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM). The 912 TEU barge, will load for New England imports on Sundays and arrive in Boston for a start time by 8:00 a.m. Tuesdays. The barge will then transport exports and empties back to GCT Bayonne for vessels loading the following weekend.




Port of Virginia - Due to a downturn in volume, the port has announced that effective May 4, 2020, the Portsmouth Marine Terminal (PMT) will be closed. Truck gate openings at Norfolk International Terminals and Virginia International Gateway will be adjusted to 0700 hours, Monday – Friday.




North Carolina Ports – All NC Ports terminals continue to operate on a normal schedule. Most notably, the port has completed Phase II of its Turning Basin Project at Wilmington, which will allow the port to receive 1,200 foot container ships carrying 14,000 TEUs. This is among some of the largest vessels to call the US East Coast. 




South Carolina Ports – SC Ports in Charleston, Greer and Dillon are operating normally for gates and vessels. 




Port of Georgia - The Georgia Port Authority GPA continues steady operations of the port. Normal, 24-hour vessel operations and terminal services continue, as well as Monday-Friday truck gate hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.




Philippines Government Tightens Controls Over Ports Due to Congestion




The Philippines Government tightened controls this week over the Ports of Manila and Davao, as they are both are experiencing significant congestion.




Containerized cargo, which is still arriving in the country despite lockdown conditions, have filled the terminals almost to their full capacity as consignees in the Philippines have been unable or in some cases, chosen not to have them picked up after they have been cleared. It is estimated that the ports are currently at 90% capacity.




The new restriction includes advanced deadlines for Customs clearances, advance notification of arrival of reefer containers and strict adherence to free time dates upon arrival. See the full announcement here. Further, the government has also relaxed controls on truck drivers in the effort to enable importers and consignees to pick up containers.




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 or concerns regarding the USA News, please contact your assigned Customer Solutions Representative.




Keeping you updated,


BRi Customer Solutions Team




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