Competitive Edge

August 10th, 2022

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  • Performance Team – A Maersk Company will open a cold storage facility in Charleston, South Carolina, early next year designed to get imports of proteins, fruits, and vegetables to 80 million U.S. consumers within one day and 225 million consumers within two days. The ceremonial first dig took place on land along Interstate 26 in Charleston, South Carolina, effectively “breaking ground” on this ambitious project.  

Courtesy: FreightWaves 

UPDATE: U.S./Canada Ports – Number of Vessels at Anchor as of 08-10-22 

  • Savannah: 39 Vessels at Anchor (-4) 
  • Houston: 28 Vessels at Anchor (-9) 
  • Vancouver: 25 Vessels at Anchor (-1) 
  • New York/Newark: 16 Vessels at Anchor (-1) 
  • San Francisco/Oakland: 8 Vessels at Anchor (-1) 
  • Los Angeles/Long Beach: 13 Vessels at Anchor (-1) 
  • Charleston: 2 Vessels at Anchor (0) 

Note: This count does not include vessels moored and being unloaded at port docks. Colored numbers in parentheses represents the change from last week over.  

Courtesy: MarineTraffic  

IMPORT: Asia to North America (TPEB) 

Recent Developments:  

  • Contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) remain active. The existing labor contract between the two parties expired July 1.  
    • Both the ILWU and PMA have commented neither is planning on striking or shutting down operations amid ongoing talks. The two parties state their confidence that there will be no disruptions at USWC ports.  
    • Sources close to the talks speculate a deal will be reached by August or September. However, there has been no official comment or release from either party that confirms this is true.  

Rates: Spot rates from Asia to the US East Coast continue to decrease.  

Major container lines CMA CGM and Hapag-Lloyd have also instituted surcharges on overweight container loads from India to the U.S. and Canada.  

  • CMA CGM is charging $1,000 per TEU for all types of containers weighing over 20 metric tons. 
  • Hapag-Lloyd is charging $500 per TEU for loads exceeding 18 metric tons.  

Container line MSC has scaled down its planned peak season surcharge (PSS) for Indian container loads to the US, while also delaying the implementation date, reports indicate.  

  • The carrier has recalled its $2,000-per-container PSS notice that was to take effect Aug. 1 and instead now plans to seek $1,000 per box from Aug. 22, it said in a customer advisory. 

Space: Space is generally open for now, but any surges in demand and volumes will tighten space.  
Capacity: Capacity has tightened in pockets. Shippers continue to divert cargo to the USEC due to fears of disruptions at West Coast ports from ongoing labor talks.  
Equipment: Intermodal systems remain stressed with congestion and truck and chassis deficits. Some inland terminals are reaching max capacity with inventory.  
TIPS: Book at least 2-3 weeks prior to ready date. Strongly consider premium services and, if cargo is ready now, make plans to move as soon as possible with the current openings in space and fallen rates. When possible, shippers with fixed-rate contacts should take advantage of these softened rates on the floating market.  

IMPORT: Europe to North America (TAWB) 

Recent Developments:  

  • Northern European hubs remain critically congested. Labor-related tensions continue to pose disruptions to German, Dutch, and British ports.  
    • 2,000 dockworkers at Britain’s largest port, Felixstowe, are planning on striking from August 21 to 29, the representative union said in a statement 
  • USWC ports have seen alleviated congestion and improvements to vessel waiting times—yet still a far cry from pre-pandemic standards.  
    • There are no disruptions directly related to ongoing WC labor talks.  
  • On the USEC, both ports of New York/Newark and Savannah have a notable number of waiting vessels anchored offshore.  

Rates: Rates remain elevated, but consistent, for the foreseeable future. Higher fuel costs are contributing to rate increases.  
Space: Space remains critical.  
Capacity: Capacity for both North Europe and Mediterranean services remain gripped.  
Equipment: Equipment at European seaports is not as readily available as it has been for the past few months. Inland terminals in Europe are also still reporting equipment shortages. On the U.S. side, truck and chassis availability remain concerning, especially with the latter.  
TIPS: Book 5 or more weeks prior to ready date. Shippers are strongly advised to use premium service for no-roll options and improved reliability for their cargo.  

EXPORT: North America to Asia 

Recent Developments: 

  • For the USEC, waiting vessels remain an issue for Savannah and New York/Newark.  
  • Diminished schedule integrity continues to challenge post earliest return dates. 
  • Vessel arrivals remain smooth for USWC POLs. 

Rates: So far, GRIs for the transpacific westbound lane have not been announced for August.  
Capacity: Available capacity remains fluid for USWC POLs.  
Equipment: Truck, container, and chassis availability remains dire and has significantly contributed to congestion of the intermodal system and IPI origins. Standard equipment at ports remains available unless carriers advise otherwise.  
TIPS: Book 4 to 5 weeks prior to time of departure to secure necessary equipment and vessel space.  

Freight News

Volume and transit times are up out east as the ports are taking on more trade from China

East Coast ports in the U.S., in the past three months have seen vessel capacity increases. As the transit times have been increasing with more vessels being anchored offshore. A large reason for this is due to some fearing a potential strike could occur out west due to the west coast longshore labor union discussions.  

Sea-Intelligence reported that east coast congestion has been deteriorating enough, where less than one in five container ships currently arrives on time (18.7%), CNBC says 

Still, the west coast continues to lead in market share of far east containers, though it is losing some capacity to the east coast. Especially on the rail and trucking side of things, the east coast has been seeing a ‘boom’ in rail and truck service with the increase in volume. While out west, since there is less container volume to move, the impact has been greater on trucking and rail companies. Some say though that this provides the west coast a chance to ‘recover’ as the east coast gets swamped with volume 

Additionally, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is wanting ocean carriers that serve the port of NY-NJ to stop forcing shippers/drayage truckers to store their containers – and if they do, they should pay them, Freightwaves reports. The Chairman of the FMC also noted that carriers who are most behind in picking up their empty containers, will be asked for a plan on how they’ll get caught up. The Chairman defended the strictness of his comments saying, “it promotes the movement of cargo.”  

Update on Rhine River water falling to critically low levels on the European waterway

Heatwaves throughout Europe have caused droughts, which in turn has caused water levels to decline, especially at Rhine River.  

Rhine River is one of Europe’s major inland river which connects to Rotterdam and Antwerp which are huge ports – especially for shippers that transfer coal, components, chemicals and other commodities to factories and power plants through the river.  

Now, water levels on passages on the Rhine River have been forecasted to drop below their “critical points” with some intermodal service providers implementing surcharges. As of Sunday, the depth of the Rhine was down to 49 centimeters – vessels need about 1.5 meters of waterline to sail fully loaded – at the gauge tower at Kaub, which some say is considered to be the most important point for navigators assessing depth, Politico EU reports 

This has caused shipping costs to be higher because vessels are unable to sail on the river fully loaded – with some vessels having to sail 75% empty, Reuters reports.  

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