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North America Supply Chain Update - APR '22

US port congestion begins to ease whilst import volumes remain at record levels

Following our last USA multimodal update at the start of April, please find below a full update. While import demand continues to hit record high levels, in positive news for supply chains, the congestion across US ports is now on a downward trend as it begins to ease.

The reduction in congestion is positive for US supply chains as all of the major ocean ports, with the exception of Oakland, saw a drop in the average time of delays through March and April. The twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach had over 100 vessels awaiting berth earlier in the year, with numbers shrinking to less than 40 at the end of April, although there is still an average wait time between 10 and 14 days across US ports. West Coast ports also saw higher demand through March 2022 when compared to East Coast ports, a role reversal of the February 2022 East/West split.

The easing of congestion is a welcome respite for US businesses, and those shipping to and from North America. With confidence in US supply chains beginning to return, March 2022 saw the second highest import volume in US history at almost 2.6million TEUs, a 44% increase from pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

The outlook is positive for the majority of North American ports however, delays at the port of Oakland have increased and yard utilisation is at 90%, prompting federal help offering financial relief for customers using its pop-up container yard. Oakland’s import/export split generally stands at 50%/50%, although imports are currently increasing whilst export rates lag.

It is expected that the USA’s easing of congestion will slow through June/July as an influx of containers hits US and European ports once bunched-up cargo vessels from China begin sailing again.

The week commencing April 11th, 2022, was the first week in 1.5 years to have under 1 million tenders per day for road freight, a recent report from truckstop.com noted. Consumer habits that changed during the pandemic led to a load per week growth from 400,000 to over 1 million, however, a combination of factors including reduced demand and capacity availability have led to numbers to dip under the 1 million mark for the first time since January 2021. 

Truckstop.com’s Chief Economist, Noel Perry, also noted that a 38% (exc. fuel) fall in spot rates could be a sign of a looming recession, whilst the decrease in activity could potentially be short-term signs of backlog and supply chain delays caused by reported Europe, Asia and US port congestion.

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See our detailed multimodal breakdown below.

Updates by location:

Ocean

  • High import volume
  • Low productivity
  • Waiting time up to 5 days

Rail

  • Extended delays on pickups, deliveries and drayage

Equipment

  • Chassis shortages

Rail

  • Major congestion across rail facilities causing delays in pickups and deliveries
  • Extended off-site dray program at BNSF Logistics Park for unites exceeding free dwell time

Equipment

  • Limited availability of 40’ reefer containers
  • Chassis shortage

Ocean

  • High import volume
  • Workforce shortages
  • Vessel bunching
  • Waiting time 2-12 days

Equipment

  • Chassis shortage caused by congestion

Ocean

  • High import dwell
  • Workforce shortages
  • LA waiting times up to 16 days
  • Long Beach waiting times up to 23 days

Rail

  • Heavy congestion and delays across both LA and Long Beach terminals
  • Gate restrictions
  • Shortages of rail carriages

Equipment

  • Continued chassis shortages

Ocean

  • High import volumes
  • Waiting time 2-4 days

Ocean

  • Severe congestion
  • Waiting time 2-6 days

Equipment

  • Chassis availability issues causing delays

Ocean

  • Congestion across Oakland terminals
  • High import volume
  • Workforce shortages
  • Waiting time up to 12 days
  • 90% yard utilisation

Oakland port has opened a temporary 25-acre paved off-terminal container yard to combat high levels of congestion.

The government will offer financial relief for customers using the pop-up container yards.

The USDA will offer assistance to agricultural and other exporters with a $400 incentive per export reefer container and $200 for a standard container, whilst the pickup of empty agricultural containers will see a $125 incentive.

Ocean

  • Reasonable import volume
  • Waiting time up to 1 day

Equipment

  • Shortage of chassis availability causing delays

Ocean

  • High import volume
  • Upgrade works to terminal systems causing delays
  • Waiting time up to 3 days

Equipment

  • Shortage of available chassis

Ocean

  • Workforce shortage
  • High import volume
  • Waiting time up to 2 days

Equipment

  • Limited availability of 40’ reefer containers

Ocean

  • Severe disruption
  • Waiting time 28 days
  • 120% yard utilisation

Equipment

  • Limited 20’ and 40’ chassis availability

US warehousing space and chassis equipment remain scarce across various ports and terminals.

If you are in need of warehousing and/or fulfilment in the USA, contact us about solutions through our growing hubs here.

 

For more information, please contact us here.

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