Transport & Port Updates – September 2022
We are seeing shipping congestion nationwide, however, the industry is poised for some relief over the next few months. Rail delays are becoming more prominent and may cause bottlenecks going into the peak season. While a looming rail strike is still on the horizon, several railroad unions have reached tentative agreements with U.S. freight railroads on a new labor contract according to the National Carriers’ Conference Committee.
Space remains tight due to the disruption of schedules and blank sailings caused by congestion at the ports. Most carriers are booked 4-6 weeks in advance.
Inland destinations are particularly strained by some carriers omitting through service to inland points and as a result of the combined bottlenecks at ports/terminals and rails.
All industry projections suggest no change in demand, especially now heading into peak season.
U.S. East Coast – Import: Congestion at East Coast ports is still prominent as more cargo is being routed through this region to avoid West Coast ports. As an alternative, some importers are sending goods to the Gulf region.
U.S. East Coast – Export: All east coast ports have severe schedule disruptions due to a backlog of incoming freight. Expect delays and possible rolling of vessels.
U.S. & Canada West Coast – Import: Congestion remains consistent with rate levels elevated relative to the pre-COVID market. We recommend booking at least 2-4 weeks in advance and being open to using various modes/routes of transportation.
U.S. West Coast – Export: We continue to see gate capacity restrictions and limited rail reservations available at inland points such as Chicago. Carriers are accepting bookings from inland ramps but not in the volume needed in the market. With limited space/bookings available we are having to book on average about 4 weeks in advance.
The Congestion and subsequent vessels in the queue to unload are causing a continued backup of export cargo staged to go outbound. We are seeing more export bookings missing scheduled departures as the terminals can’t accept the loaded container with limited space and labor constraints. Not only is this causing a delay in freight loading and arriving at the destination, but the carriers are now charging significant demurrage and per diem, for the time their containers are held up which is being passed on to the cargo owners.
U.S. Midwest – Inbound & Outbound: Chicago rail delays are increasing and chassis shortages continue. We are seeing some containers going into stacks with trains stopping at checkpoints for several days.
We are working with our customers to trans-load cargo using less congested routes. We also offer air freight services, which in some cases may be more attractive than ground. For more information, please contact Ronald Vincent, our Director of Logistics.
We are continuing to monitor all lanes, ports, and services to provide you with the best possible service at the best possible price.
M.E. Dey and Co. monitors the market daily to find competitive rates that pair well with exceptional transportation services. We provide fixed-rate contracts in addition to standard market rates. Contact us to talk with a representative or request a quote to get started.