BRi USA News - West Coast Ports Adjust Night Shift Hours for COVID-19 Sanitizing


Dear all Valued Customers


Terminal operators in the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland Tuesday will begin delaying the start of their night shift by one hour so cargo-handling equipment can be sanitized as part of the effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The work shifts at West Coast ports are normally 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. Under the new sanitation measures, the night shift will be 7 p.m. to 4 a.m.


“Despite COVID-19 disruption across many industries, California ports are fully operational and open for business, and we do not anticipate that the slight modification to operating hours to disinfect equipment will impact cargo availability,” said Michele Grubbs, vice president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which represents carriers and terminal operators in legislative matters.


Terminal operators and the Harbor Trucking Association (HTA) indicated the slight revision in the night shift hours should not result in operational disruptions at the ports. All 12 of the container terminals in Los Angeles and Long Beach operate night shifts. Oakland International Container Terminal and TraPac in Oakland regularly run night gates, according to the port.


The new hours also will apply to the Northwest Seaport Alliance of Seattle and Tacoma (NWSA) if terminals should schedule night shifts, but extended gates at the NWSA normally occur on an as-needed basis, such as during the peak shipping season. Nevertheless, an NWSA spokesperson said Tuesday all terminal equipment is being cleaned between shifts.


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


Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach - In addition to the implemented sanitation hours, the port has reviewed their space and they have plenty of space to store containers. The terminal tarmacs also have ample space. The port is currently working with partners to prioritize working containers with medical supplies. Finally, the U.S. Naval ship Mercy will be docking at the port to provide relief for Los Angeles hospitals for non-coronavirus patients and will not impede normal operations.


Port of Baltimore – Low cargo volumes have triggered a holiday closure March 30-31, but the port operator will open an hour early (6:00 a.m.) April 1-3.


Port of Georgia (Savannah) - The port continues steady operation with normal, 24-hour vessel operations and terminal services, as well as Monday-Friday truck gate hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Savannah. The container terminal has additional storage space if needed.  


Port of Houston - The Houston Ship Channel and the 200-plus private terminals and eight public terminals that comprise the greater Port of Houston remain operating and open for business.


Port of Seattle & Tacoma - Terminals at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, are operating normally after a reported case of the coronavirus at SSA Marine’s Terminal 18 at the Port of Seattle. The terminal informed employees of the potential exposure on March 9, when the person (who self-reported) was on duty working alone on a piece of machinery for a short period of time. Terminal operators have sufficient sanitation supplies and contingency plans in place to continue operations.


North Carolina Ports - The ports of Wilmington and Morehead City and Charlotte Inland Port – continue to operate on a normal schedule and do not anticipate any changes to operations at this time. The port has implemented a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) to ensure the safety and well-being of personnel, contractors and visitors while maintaining continued operations during any crisis or event.


Port of Virginia (Norfolk) - The Norfolk International Terminals and Virginia International Gateway handled their first container of COVID-19 test kits and protective gear this week. They are working with their customers and carriers to ensure all medical shipments are given priority for imports by communicating with Longshoremen to discharge the container from the vessel, ensure it is pre-pulled for pickup, and arranging appointments with truckers.


Port of Miami – Open and operational as usual. Effective Monday, March 30, the terminals will no longer supply truckers with Haz Mat or Dangerous Goods documents at the terminal in an effort to maintain social distancing. Truckers must have these documents prior to arriving at the terminal.


Port of New Orleans - Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) cargo operations and New Orleans Public Belt Railroad (NOPB) operations continue to function as normal. Ocean carriers are following the U.S. Coast Guard’s strict protocol, which includes additional reporting and screening requirements for vessels prior to arrival. NOPB rail services also remain uninterrupted.


Please note the carrier HMM has updated the status of terminal operations here.


Also, please note that these select West Coast terminals are observing a holiday on March 31.


Advance Notification of Pandemic Relief Materials Encouraged by New York CBP Field Office


U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) New York Field Office released a memo to the Trade today stating that effective immediately, importers or their agents are encouraged to provide advance notification to CBP when they are expecting shipments of pandemic relief materials, whether that includes pharmaceutical products, personal protective equipment, building supplies, or other items. This includes shipments in the air, on the water, or already arrived and pending release, and is particularly true for shipments CBP has placed on hold. This action will help CBP expedite legitimate shipments of relief materials.


India’s Prime Minister Orders Lockdown of Country for 21 Days, Freight Still Moving


Following the announced lockdown on Monday, India began the world’s largest lockdown on Tuesday night in the effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). India’s stay-at-home order puts one-fifth of the world’s population under lockdown.


In recent days, India has been gradually expanding stay-at-home orders and has banned international and domestic flights and suspended passenger service on its extensive rail system. Essential service providers, including hospitals, police and media had been exempted from the stay-in-place orders, and many grocery stores and pharmacies remained open.


While transportation is considered to be an essential service, our global partners have advised us of the following as it relates to freight moving in India:


  • There are no international or domestic passenger flights.
  • Very few freighters are operational at this time and those may be grounded soon.
  • The Indian Government is considering a complete lockdown until April 14.
  • Some carriers MAY temporarily adjust port rotations on service slings to omit India calls. We will communicate this information if it occurs.


Limited commerce is still moving however, there are very few available to provide Customs clearances, trucking, etc., even though many in the logistics industry are working remotely from home.


Extension to Comply with March 2020 Bond Insufficiency Notices


Due to the operational impacts that COVID-19 is having on the Trade community, CBP is granting a 10-day extension for the termination and replacement of bonds found to be insufficient and for which notices were issued with a due date of March 21, 2020. The insufficient bond should be scheduled for termination by March 31, 2020, with a termination date no later than April 15, 2020.


CBP is operating under normal procedures and is able to complete processing and reviews timely.


As a result, the April bond sufficiency reviews and notices will not be postponed at this time.


CBP will continue to monitor the situation daily and make additional extensions if deemed necessary.


The entire BRi USA team is at your disposal & feel free to contact us should you have any enquiries.


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.


Please feel free to contact your BRi Customer Solutions Representative, should you have any queries or concerns. 


Keeping you updated,

BRi Customer Solutions Team


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