As we approach the peak shipping season, we wanted to make sure everyone fully understands that the state of transpacific shipping is continuing to deteriorate.
Origin Ports in Asia
Every origin port in Asia is continuing to face the same congestion problems:
- Huge backlog of products needing to be shipped out
- Equipment shortage (lack of containers)
- Vessel delays
The port of Shenzhen/Yantian is slowly recovering from the COVID related shut down of much of the port during parts of June. At one point, there were more than 40 vessels anchored outside the port. The port has still not cleared out the containers piled up waiting to ship out. We have containers that were delivered to the port in June still waiting to get onto a vessel for departure.
West Coast Port Congestion
The severity of port congestion at West Coast ports continues to worsen.
- Los Angeles/Long Beach: The vessel wait time seemed to improve during the month of June, with vessel anchor times finally under one week on average. However, we are seeing signs that the wait times may be trending upwards again. We’re starting to see the number of vessels increasing from around 10 vessels at any time back up to roughly 20 vessels at a time.
- Oakland: The port of Oakland continues to have the worst vessel wait times amongst West Coast ports. Current anchor times are averaging 15-20 days. Carriers already made the decision months ago to start skipping Oakland as a port call. Despite this decision, the congestion at the port of Oakland continues to get worse. As long as congestion remains this bad at Oakland, we can expect fewer and fewer vessels to call Oakland.
- Seattle/Tacoma: Vessel anchor times are now averaging 5-7 days
- Vancouver: Vessel anchor times are now averaging roughly 7 days. Note that this situation was temporarily exacerbated last week by the wildfires in the Lytton, BC area of Western Canada
- Prince Rupert: Vessel anchor times are now averaging roughly 3 days
Rail congestion continues to get progressively worse. Whether the containers are discharging in LA/LB, Oakland, Seattle/Tacoma, or Vancouver, the containers are waiting many weeks, sometimes even over a month to get onto rail. To make matters worse, the UP rail sent out a notice on Sunday, July 18th, that they would be suspending eastbound rail service from all West Coast ports to the Global IV intermodal facility in Chicago. The hope is that the one week suspension of service would give various midwest rail destinations a chance to clear out their severe backlog of containers. This suspension of service is likely to only further increase container wait times at the West Coast ports.
Truck Power Shortage
The entire United States is experiencing major truck power shortage. As congestion piles up at ports and rail destinations alike, truckers aren’t able to keep up with the demand. The major chassis shortages in various ports and rail destinations are causing containers arriving at Chicago, New York/Newark, and Houston to routinely be assessed storage fees.
One trend we are seeing is that more and more importers are left with no alternative but to bring their cargo through Los Angeles/Long Beach. As more importers attempt to route their containers through Los Angeles/Long Beach, we are expecting the trucking shortage in Southern California to also reach crisis levels.