BRi USA NEWS - Ocean Carriers Remain Cautious, Raise Profit Expectations


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According to Alphaliner, ocean carriers boosting their balance sheets on the back of booming demand and all-time high spot rates. However, mid-term visibility was low and global growth predictions for next year and beyond were shrouded in uncertainty.


Alphaliner said 2020 would be remembered as “one of the strangest years” for container shipping, with carriers issuing profit warnings at the start of the second quarter as the pandemic forced most countries into lockdown, severely impacting world trade.


Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen last week provided a stark insight into the dilemma facing carriers at the prospect of a significant contraction in liftings due to Covid.


“The rates on the trans-Pacific have been very, very strong. Also Asia and Europe have been strong. Lately Latin America has been going up,” Jansen said during a press briefing. “Volume has not been as severely impacted by COVID-19 as we expected,” Jansen said. “Initially expectations were there was going to be a double-digit decline in volume.”


However, as lockdowns eased, pent-up demand, boosted by changes in consumer spending, has encouraged carriers not only to reinstate some blanked sailings, but also to deploy extra loaders.


Ahead of what analysts now expect to be an exceptionally strong third-quarter results season for ocean carriers, Maersk has exceeded analyst expectations, further upgrading its full-year earnings guidance to a level some 45% higher than at the start of the pandemic.


The continuing strong demand recovery across major trades, resulting in a substantial spike in freight rates, is expected to deliver rich returns for ocean carriers for the remainder of the year, and possibly into 2021.


North American 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.


United States


Port of Seattle and Tacoma – All terminals at the ports are open and operational this week.


Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach – Los Angeles and Long Beach (LA-LB) in 2019 reduced harmful emissions from port operations at about twice the rate of change in container volumes, demonstrating they are progressing toward achieving the standards established in the San Pedro Bay Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP). All terminals are open for normal operations this week.


Port of Oakland – The Port of Oakland experienced its best September ever for import cargo volume. The Port said that containerized import volume jumped 10.6 percent in September compared to 2019 totals. Exports were also up 5 percent compared to September 2019. Total TEUs for September were up 9.3 percent compared to September 2019. All terminals are open for normal operations this week.


Port of Houston – Port Houston has seen small declines in 2020, reporting that as of the end of September, Port Houston is down 3% year-to-date in containers, and steel is also down year-to-date. Tonnage across more than all the 200 industries along the Houston Ship Channel is down 5.5% year-to-date thru July. Safmarine is reporting that vessel wait times remain at 24-48 hours for the second week in a row. Congestion is expected until mid to late next week with vessel bunching. All terminals are open for normal operations this week.


Port of New York/New Jersey – The ports of NY/NJ are open this week for normal operations and gate hours.


Port of Virginia - Last week was the first call of the newly-revised weekly Indus Service that calls on the Port of Virginia before heading back to the Middle East and Indian subcontinent. It offers connectivity between the Indian subcontinent region and US mid-Atlantic ports and the fastest transit time in the market. All terminals are open and operational this week.


North Carolina Ports - A technology services provider is expanding its relationship with the North Carolina State Ports Authority to deliver a comprehensive data-analytics-as-a-service (DAaaS) solution. This approach delivers improved, real-time visibility into its data and operations, allowing NC Ports to better plan its yards, improve turn time, minimize dwell time, and enhance other business-enabling metrics. All terminals are open and operational this week.


South Carolina Ports - The South Carolina Port Authority is soon to boast the U.S. East Coast’s deepest harbor and is expanding capabilities for handling mega containerships. With a 52-foot-deep harbor and the first phase of the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal opening in early 2021, inland connections are to be further bolstered when an intermodal container transfer facility – to be served by both Norfolk Southern and CSX – is in place near the new Leatherman Terminal. SC Ports in Charleston, Greer and Dillon are operating normally for gates and vessels at this time.


Port of Georgia - Both Ports of Savannah and Brunswick are open for normal hours this week.




Port of Halifax - The port is experiencing rail and terminal yard congestion as it continues to recover from the Montreal Labour strike. Plans are in place to resolve the situation by using extra loaders. All terminals are open and operational this week.


Port of Montreal - The port is experiencing congestion due increased volumes and recovery from Montreal Labour strike. Shippers are encouraged to take delivery of full import containers as soon as they arrive at the terminal or rail ramp. All terminals are open and operational this week.


Port of Prince Rupert - The port is experiencing container yard congestion as the terminal works nonstop to handle volume surge. As a result, vessels are being worked 9-10 days behind schedule. Yard capacity remains at 100% this week, and rail dwell has increased from 5 days to 4 days. All terminals are open and operational this week.


Port of Vancouver -Vessel wait times increased from 7-8 days to 11-12 days this week. Yard capacity remains at 100%. Rail dwell time is 6 days. Centerm’s crane removal project was expected to be completed in September, but it is not finished; they expect to gain 2-3 shifts per week to catch up on vessel backlog. Even with both berths being available, the backlog of vessels is expected to be mid-November before terminal operations are normalized. All terminals are open and operational this week.


FDA, EPA Provide Guidance for Importation of Hand Sanitizers


The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have published new guidance for the importation and distribution of hand sanitizer products to meet rising demand during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Hand sanitizers are considered over-the-counter drug products and are regulated by the FDA. Hand sanitizers (and other drugs) imported into the United States must comply with all the applicable requirements under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the pertinent regulations found in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR). As such, entries of hand sanitizers are required to be filed with the FDA upon importation. Some hand sanitizer/disinfectant products are considered pesticides and require registration with the EPA before they can be imported and sold in the U.S.


BRi ERP and Order Management Program


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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 regarding USA News, please contact your Customer Solutions Representative.


Keeping you updated,

BRi Customer Solutions Team

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