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US Ocean Port Update 16th August

Shipping rates fall for the majority of US ocean freight markets, however, port congestion remains an issue

Ports across the US' Gulf and East Coast are seeing record volumes pass through their terminals, with increases of around 10.5% for the first half of 2022.

Market Rates

Transpacific market rates are currently declining whilst transatlantic rates remain stable, impacted only by cost of fuel fluctuations and congestion charges/dwell fees which may be imposed. Asia-US rates have reduced by up to 50% in some cases, compared to rate levels at the start of the year.

Equipment and Congestion Levels

IPI services (internal container moves in USA, often via rail) within the US are still seeing high levels of congestion and are therefore experiencing delays, resulting in some shippers reverting to other intermodal methods such as transloading/crossdocking.

Due to lack of available warehouse space in some locations, importers are using containers as additional storage units. This is impacting equipment flow forecasting and so resulting in shortages in equipment and chassis, especially inland when added to the terminal congestion.

Although in recent months ocean freight has seen a big shift of freight landing on the East Coast to avoid West Coast backlogs, which in turn is increasing pressure on USEC ports, the US West Coast remains heavily congested with additional concerns of industry action also creating challenges in planning.

Long-Dwell Fees

One such East Coast port seeing strong cargo volumes is the Port of New York and New Jersey. As a result of higher volumes passing through its terminals, the port has introduced long-dwell fees on both loaded and empty containers in response to a rise in container dwell times. The aim is for the tariffs to reduce long-dwelling containers and create space for container pickup across the terminals. The dwell-time tariff, set to begin from September 2022 will see carriers incur a quarterly ‘imbalance fee’ if their import or export containers are deemed to be long-dwelling, at a cost of $100 per container.

It is not expected that this fee will be passed on to importers directly at this moment in time. We will keep all customers up to date as and when more information on this becomes available.

For warehouse availability in New York, New Jersey and Chicago please contact us here.

If you have any questions about your North American shipments please contact our team here.

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