Competitive Edge

December 28th, 2022

UPDATE: U.S. and Canada Ports – Number of Cargo Vessels at Anchor 

• Vancouver: 38 Vessels at Anchor (-3)
• Savannah: Vessels at Anchor (-4)
• Houston: 14 Vessels at Anchor (-6)
• San Francisco/Oakland: 4 Vessels at Anchor (-3)
• Los Angeles/Long Beach: 11 Vessels at Anchor (+3)
• Mobile: Vessels at Anchor (+4)
• New York/Newark: Vessels at Anchor (-2)
• Charleston: Vessels at Anchor (0)

Note: Count taken on December 23, 2022. This count does not include vessels moored and being unloaded at port docks. Colored numbers in parentheses represents the change from last week over. Data is courtesy of MarineTraffic’s live vessel traffic map.

Have another U.S. or Canadian port you’d like us to track weekly? Let us know!

Takeaways

U.S. West Coast: Whether by choice or not, Los Angeles and Long Beach saw its count rise above single-digits.

U.S. Gulf Coast: As we predicted, Houston has knocked off a healthy number of vessels from its queue week over week. The Gulf port seems to be settling in to lower volumes like other U.S. ports.

U.S. East Coast: The Georgia Ports Authority reportedly was playing Taylor Swift’s pop hit “Out of the Woods” the other day as it looks like Savannah may finally be out of the woods with its congestion saga. New York and Savannah have both been reinstated for weekly calls over the last couple of weeks!

CanadaBerthing. Delays. While reportedly improving, these two words have haunted Vancouver’s ability for fluid operations as its vessel queue continues to stand out.

IMPORT: Asia to North America (TPEB)

Recent Developments:

• While blank sailings are already typical on the scene, carriers have announced Chinese New Year blank sailings.

• Los Angeles and Long Beach will both phase out the option to collect a “Container Dwell Fee” on January 24, 2023. The program, announced in late October 2021, has never once been activated.

West Coast 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.

Rates: Spot rates are at pre-pandemic levels thanks to waning demand. Additionally, some contracts have been renegotiated to adjust with these market changes and deter shippers from opting for more favorable spot rates.
Space: Space is open.
Capacity: Overcapacity is the current state of this trade. Blank sailings are now typical as a means from carriers to combat this excess market capacity. We expect occurrences of blank sailings to carry over into Q1 2023.
Equipment: Lower volumes have brought relief to equipment deficits. Chassis supply looks to rebound in the new year.
TIPS:
• Book at least two weeks prior to the ready date.
• Chinese New Year begins early on January 21. Production may stop as early as January 1.
• Blank sailings will continue into the new year and pre-CNY. Please plan accordingly.

IMPORT: Europe to North America (TAWB)

Recent Developments:

• Savannah has been reinstated for weekly call from carriers.

Rates: Rates have fallen in December thanks to lower demand and carriers adjusting PSS fees. We believe this trend will carry over into the new year barring any surges to demand.
Space: Space to both U.S. coasts have opened up as American port congestion overall eases.
Capacity: Larger vessels have entered the market boosting the trade lane’s capacity. This applies for both Northern Europe and Mediterranean coasts to the USEC.
Equipment: Availability for both European origins and U.S. destinations has improved for this trade. Inland hubs in Europe are beginning to balance their equipment out as well.
TIPS:
• Book at least four weeks prior to ready date.
• Strongly consider premium services for no-roll options and improved reliability of cargo.

EXPORT: North America to Asia

Rates: Rates are stable if not slightly decreasing. They are not plummeting in this market like its inbound counterpart (Asia to North America).
Capacity: Capacity remains stable. While blank sailings aren’t as common as they are on inbound lanes, Chinese New Year has opened the door for them to occur. Please stay advised by your providers for updated information.
Equipment: Chassis and container deficits still exist at inland points, like Kansas City and Memphis, but buy in large, most dry and coastal ports have balanced out their equipment availability, especially the latter.
TIPS:
• Book at least three weeks prior to the time of departure.
• Stay in close communication with your provider and carrier to be aware of any potential developments, like blank sailings, that can affect your shipments.

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Freight News

Supply-Demand Balance for Marine Chassis is Predicted to Improve in 2023

As well noted throughout this year, available marine chassis remained an issue (as it did last year), which caused congestion in U.S. supply chains.

So where does that leave marine chassis availability in 2023?

Obviously things can change, but the supply-demand balance for marine chassis is predicted to improve in 2023 – per the Journal of Commerce. In addition to cargo owners, chassis lessors, and Class I US railroads are saying they expect an introduction of new equipment supplies and slowing import demand.

Recently, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) have approved a plan for U.S. East Coast seaports to operate a shared pool of truck chassis. With the hopes that it will help relieve container port congestion at busy sites.

When it goes live, the operation will be the largest fully interoperable pool in the U.S., with over 60,000 chassis available to motor carriers, shippers, and ocean carriers at multiple port and inland locations in many of the states in the Southeast; Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee – according to DC Velocity.

The target date for this proposed South Atlantic Chassis Pool (SACP 3.0) is October 2023.

New Tenants Keep Warehouse Demand at the Port of NY/NJ Strong

Shippers that specialize in food and beverage, auto parts, and pharmaceuticals are adding warehouses that are near the Port of NY/NJ, strengthening the port to continue strong.

While the retail and consumer-goods sector has seen some tapering demand and have not been as active in leasing new capacity this year at the port – per the Journal of Commerce. While cold-chain and life sciences companies produced strong 2022 lease signings in New Jersey.

The impact these industries are having on port activity:

-Through November, pharmaceutical ingredient shipments through the port were up 24 percent from the year prior

-Auto part shipments through November were up 5 percent from the year prior, but 21 percent higher compared to the 2020 period.

This added business has helped the port maintain its fourth straight busiest U.S. port in a row. It also has helped the Northeast warehousing market stay one of the strongest in the U.S, the JOC reports.

Additionally, both the U.S. East Coast and the U.S. West Coast see declines in container volumes during November.

For the USWC – the uncertainty surrounding the labor talks between the ILWU and the PMA, and trade routes shifting, continue to have an impact on volumes.

While on the USEC – the decline in volume was mainly due to concerns over the economy, per Transport Topics.

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