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USA Multimodal Freight Update

The USA aims to increase schedule reliability of ocean freight, whilst FAA and telecommunications firms agree on safer rollout of 5G

Following on from our most recent US update, shipping lines have announced that more space will be released on the lower FAK-rate tier in the near future as the peak begins to ease up. This means that carriers will be unable to force premium rates upon cargo as there will be higher capacity available on the better rates, however it is too early to suggest that shipping rates in general will fall.


Ocean Freight

While an increased number of blank sailings were implemented during January, space availability remained better than initially expected. Further blank sailings are also expected through February, with shipping lines set to take full advantage of decreased demand around Chinese New Year in an attempt to free up space, increase schedule reliability and reduce the backlog across the US. Container rates from Asia to the US are currently at the lowest point since July 2021.

The number of vessels spending time at anchor or awaiting berth has reduced for the port of Savannah, whilst terminals in Houston remain unchanged. However various other North American ports, including Charleston, Seattle and Oakland are seeing increased wait times, with the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach continuing to see critically high numbers of vessels at anchorage (49) whilst an additional 54 were queued in Week 4. The ports of New York and New Jersey are also seeing a rise in vessels awaiting berth as cargo is being diverted in from other US ports.

Air Freight

In January, mobile telecommunications firms AT&T and Verizon announced plans to postpone the implementation of C-Band 5G after receiving universal opposition from within the US aviation sector. However, since the postponement, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has deemed 90% of planes fit to fly in low-visibility conditions at 5G airports whilst they work alongside the telecoms companies to agree on steps to enable more freighter and passenger aircraft to fly safely even where 5G is implemented.

The news comes as the the AT&T and Verizon provided the FAA with more in depth data and information on both the locations of transmitters and the effects these could have on aircraft altimeters. The findings mean that the areas where 5G signal needs deferring can be pinpointed and minimised.

Rail Freight

A federal judge in Texas has imposed a temporary restraining order against union-affiliated employees going on strike at BNSF over an 'overly restrictive' attendance programme. This is in the main part due to the implications it would cause on an already overly-strained US supply chain.

Police presence will be increased along California's urban railroads amidst a spate of cargo looting from trains that are travelling at lower speed or experiencing longer dwell times due to increased supply chain congestion. The long-term plan to combat rail thefts in the Los Angeles area is to implement permanent smash-and-grab enforcement units along affected stretches in the area.

Road Freight

The road freight industry has avoided further labour shortages as the 'jab law' proposal is dropped. The US Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) had proposed a mandate that would mean all workers in companies with 100+ employees would legally need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to be able to work. OSHA's plans were met with opposition by the American Trucking Association (ATA), who successfully challenged the bid to enforce vaccines for US truckers on the grounds that OSHA did not have authority to issue or enforce such a mandate.


US warehousing space is becoming increasingly scarce as labour shortages throughout the supply chain lead to businesses stock-piling or bulk-buying goods.

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

For more information, please contact us here.

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