Ocean freight cargo congestion is planet-wide at this point with little to no signs of improvement on the horizon. Capacity, equipment, drivers, rail space, and warehouse space are all stretched to the breaking point as record imports hit US ports. Retail sellers are desperate to restock shelves and prepare for the peak holiday shopping season in advance as these delays could and likely will continue straight into 2022.
Union Pacific railroad announced an embargo on containers coming into the Chicago Global IV yard from the west coast in an attempt to catch up on the pending containers they already have. BNSF opened a stop gap lot, Lot W to hold containers between deramping and truck loading, but where the containers will not be available for recovery. The closure of Global IV is expected to further congest the west coast warehouse space, an already stressed situation.
Though the Biden EO did get the ball rolling for government investigations regarding the rail and ocean carriers, there’s no instant fix on the horizon. As it currently stands, carriers are still giving preference to empty containers and refusing loaded export boxes; offering premium service for equipment if bought in conjunction with customs brokerage or other services; and adding surcharges on top of spot rates that hit $20,000 between Asia and the USWC despite being on target to see $100 billion in profit this year.
It’s bad out there. For anyone who recently asked “what more can go wrong?” we ask that you shush because we’re on track to find out and the consensus is that we don’t truly know what the worst-case scenario could look like. Few expected us to end up here and instead thought post-Lunar New Year would see the return of normalcy – an idea that’s now almost comical in it’s naivete.
The good news is that all hope isn’t lost. Your representatives at Edward J. Zarach & Associates are hard at work keeping your freight moving as best we can. We still have some options to use alternate ports and routings to avoid the worst parts of the cargo congestion but the most important part of your logistics plan should be advanced planning. The more notice we can get, the better the chance we can avoid problems, both because we’re giving the congestion more time to unclench and because if we can plan we have a better chance at securing your equipment and vessel space.
Allow us to be your guiding hand during this disruption. We’re trained and ready to work and advocate on your behalf to help your freight get where it needs to be in the least painful way we can. We’re in this together and ready to help.