Competitive Edge

December 29th, 2021

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Ocean Freight Market Update


  • Long Beach Port receives $52.3 million grant for planned rail project
  • China shipyards newbuild orderbook up 183% by the end of November
  • Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach postpone container dwell fee for the sixth week in a row due to improvements in moving aging cargo
  • Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) makes $6.4 billion offer for Bolloré Africa Logistics
  • Asia – US West Coast container line blank sailings hit 28%

UPDATE: U.S./Canada Port Congestion

  • Savannah: 13 Backlogged Vessels
  • Los Angeles/Long Beach: 55* Backlogged Vessels
    • Note: This does not include LA/LB bound vessels backlogged at ports of origin
  • Vancouver: 75 Backlogged Vessels

IMPORT: China to North America (TPEB)

Recent Developments:

  • High import volumes expected for first half of 2022
  • Pre-Chinese New Year sailings are limited leading to high demand, critical capacity, and rate increases

Rates: Rate levels will remain elevated. Strong pre-CNY demand also leads to potential rate increases. In return, more shippers and importers are changing bookings from standard to premium.

Space: Space remains critical.

Capacity/Equipment: Capacity remains severely under. Equipment deficits critical.

TIPS: Book at 4 to 5 weeks prior to CRD. Strongly consider premium service—sooner than later as it may become limited.

IMPORT: Europe to North America (TAWB)

Recent Developments:

  • Schedule reliability is expected to diminish as winter weather affects the North Atlantic
  • Likelihood of port omissions and port rotation changes continue into the mid-term
  • USEC port congestion remains manageable, and some lines are reinstating a Savannah call from January 2022
  • USWC remains heavily congested at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports

Rates: Rates levels remain relatively stable but are still noticeably high.

Space: Space remains critical, especially for the USWC.

Capacity/Equipment: Capacity remains tight for both North Europe and Mediterranean services. Equipment availability at ports, however shortages remain at inland terminals.

TIPS: Book 5 or more weeks prior to CRD. Strongly consider premium service for higher reliability and no-roll guarantees.

EXPORT: North America to China

Recent Developments:

  • Diminishing schedule integrity is contributing to void sailings, delay, and challenging post earliest return dates
  • Vessel arrivals remain fluid for USWC POLs

Rates: GRI advisories are out for select Southeast Asia and Oceania destinations for January.

Capacity: Available capacity remains fluid for USWC POLs. USEC capacity has become for readily available.

Equipment: IPI origins remain adversely affected by deficits on containers and chassis. Standard equipment availability has not been an issue, but special equipment is remains elusive.

TIPS: Book 4 to 6 weeks prior to CRD to secure equipment and vessel space.

AIR FRIEGHT: United States


  • US export demand will remain high until the last weeks of December. Larger shipments from outbound gateways can take 2 to 4 days from booking to uplift to Europe, Latin America, and Asia destinations.
  • Transpacific to Asia and transatlantic to Europe have not experienced any cancellations due to the new COVID variant.
  • Rates to Latin America, Europe, and Asia are subject to seasonal increases and will remain higher until the final weeks of December.
  • Slightly higher transit times into top European hubs due to the current influx of cargo arriving to their terminals.


  • US has lifted the ban on travelers from the EU causing European Airlines to introduce more bellyhold capacity.
  • LAX/ORD/JFK ground handlers continue to face backlogs and are using off-airport facilities to manage the flood of inbound cargo.

TIPS: Book early considering the current dwell time at airports.

Freight News

Over $240 million in federal grants have been given for 25 port projects

Last week, $240 million in federal grants were awarded to 19 states for 25 port projects, this is through the Port Infrastructure Development Program with the Maritime Administration, according to Freightwaves. Ten of the port projects received grants over $5 million, while the last 15 awards went to smaller ports. A few of the larger project awards are:

  • Offshore wind tower manufacturing port project in Albany, New York, which received $29.5 million
  • South Brooklyn Marine Terminal 35th Street Pier expansion project in New York City received $25 million
  • Portsmouth Marine Terminal offshore wind development in Portsmouth, Virginia, received $20 million

These and more project awards were about the priority of this year’s grant funds because of the impact that they continue to have on job creation, climate change, and environmental justice impacts. Something to note is this funding follows President Biden’s Supply Chain Task Force meeting last week, which is set to provide $230 million to speed cargo through ports.

Norfolk Southern testing out $200 incentive pilot program to truck carriers and steamship lines

Norfolk Southern is offering a $200 incentive for truck carriers and steamship lines each time a drayage driver brings in and departs with a shipping container, according to Freightwaves. The incentive is part of a pilot program Norfolk Southern is testing out at the Landers intermodal facility in Chicago.

If truckers take part in the program at Landers for at least 50% of the time, according to Freightwaves, it would result in eliminating roughly 46,000 truck trips, reducing fuel use by 546,000 gallons and prevent the release of over 5,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually. Norfolk Southern Chief Sustainability Office says this is a win-win for everyone, as the program offers a creative solution to a pressing supply-chain issue.

The goal of this program is to improve the amount of truck time that occurs when gaining an immediate load, versus when they leave the terminal to find a load as well as improving environmental sustainability and employee productivity.

Blog Of The Week

Customs Change Between U.K. and E.U. Could Cause Delays

To Watch Last Month's Webinar:

We discussed the congestion in the west coast & LA port fee update, along with the increases in blank sailings for transpacific lanes, current events and more!

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