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Southeast US ports are seeing the full effects of retail restocking, e-commerce, and Christmas shopping season with container volumes last month hitting all-time highs in Savannah and Virginia, while they were up year over year in Charleston for the first time since the pandemic began. The gains are prompting concerns among drayage providers that a chassis shortage could be imminent if cargo owners cannot unload containers fast enough.
November marked a record month for the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) volumes, which is unusual since international trade usually peaks before Chinese New Year (held in February) and during late summer. The Virginia Port Authority (VPA) reported similar gains in volume for November - up 23 percent year over year.
Some credit the volume surge in the Southeast to a heightened demand for furniture, bedding, refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners as lockdowns caused Americans to substitute vacations with at-home spending and home improvement projects.
“Furniture was up the most as a percentage as it was in recent months,” GPA CEO Griff Lynch said. “For August and September, we were up 42 percent in furniture. Hardware, home goods, machinery, and appliances from Asia were up double digits.”
With such a sharp rise in volume, there are concerns about whether the South Atlantic Chassis Pool - which services GPA and South Carolina Ports Authority - will run short on chassis and drayage capacity, as importers are slower in returning equipment right now as the congestion and equipment shortages in Southern California continue. The chassis pool is holding up for now, according to port officials and drayage providers, but may not if the volume doesn’t decline soon.
ONE Apus Reports Large Cargo Loss After Encountering Severe Weather
The containership ONE Apus arrived at the Port of Kobe, Japan after its eight-day trek from the middle of Pacific Ocean, and the ship is now safely berthed after losing 1,816 containers overboard due to encountering severe weather in November. While there, a full safety inspection of the vessel and its remaining cargo will take place to reveal the full extent of the damage. Then, a thorough evaluation will be made on the exact number and type of containers that have been lost or damaged and damage to the vessel.
South India Shippers Route Cargo Away from Colombo Congestion
The congestion plaguing Sri Lanka’s Colombo port over the past month has left shippers in Southern India — traditionally dependent on transhipment — with fewer alternative shipping options and higher carrier pricing. Maersk says it has introduced several shipping alternatives so its customers can work around the congestion at Sri Lanka’s Colombo port.
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