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North America Supply Chain Update

Race for space on North American Shipments

In addition to potential strikes on rail freight across Canada, port omissions, over-allocation and additional storage costs are challenges currently being faced by the North America supply chain.


Vessel Space

Several port omissions have taken place since January in order to try and recover service times, resulting in the rollover of hundreds of export containers every time. In turn, these containers then take up valuable space on the next sailing, with subsequent voyages being overallocated. As of today, there is a wait of between 4-6 weeks for vessel space on all services from North Europe / UK to the USA, regardless of which port(s) they are calling in the US.

At this point in time, there has been very little communication from carriers as to when they expect their services to recover. We will of course continue to monitor the situation and update you accordingly.

On imports from the USA, there is currently a 2-3 week wait with the ongoing lack of US trucking power also adding to delays.


Additional Container Storage Costs

Due to ongoing congestion in USA and North European ports, vessels are falling behind their planned schedule. Whilst carriers are actively communicating delays, we are seeing instances where voyages are falling back just before or during loading of export containers. When this happens, the haulier is unable to box-off at the port of loading as they are now outside of the receiving window for that vessel. Containers then have to be stored locally, pending the port’s approval based on the new vessel arrival data.

Unfortunately, this results in additional costs which carriers, suppliers and we are unable to absorb. We apologise for any additional cost incurred as a result of these industry pressures. To protect you, we try to load containers as late as possible in the known vessel receiving window, foreseeing a potential delay to calling. However, this is not always possible.


Container Rolls

Outside of vessel omissions, we are also seeing a number of containers being rolled due to overallocation of vessels. Container cuts are being made at the discretion of the lead carrier, which is compounding the recent space issues. These cuts are often made last minute at which point the containers are already loaded and on quay, exposing them to local container storage fees. An alternative option is to not load the container thus avoiding storage costs, but potential lost journey costs from the trucker can be the result.


Canada Rail

The members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) have voted for a strike mandate as of March 16, 2022, should an agreement on key issues such as wages, benefits and pensions not be reached by that date.

A strike would significantly impact rail services in Canada, and certain rail services may be suspended prior to an anticipated strike date.

While rail movements may be suspended on March 16th should the TCRC invoke their strike mandate, terminal operations will continue, allowing available inbound cargo to be picked up and staging of outbound cargo in anticipation of resumption of rail services.


If you would like to discuss available options to divert potentially affected cargo to other modes or carriers, please contact your Woodland representative.

 We will continue to do our best to mitigate these concerns and keep you informed as the situation progresses.

For more information, please contact us here.

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