TPEB and US Port Situation

Posted on Feb 23


Chinese New Year (CNY) has brought some relief to the Asian origin ports with somewhat softer demand for space in week 9 as factories have not returned to normal production levels. Container supplies has improved in China, but based on forecasts from retailers and other large exporters the export volume is expected to pick-up again in week 10 and the situation in Asian ports can quickly return to pre-CNY levels.

However, the volumes shipped prior to CNY that are not arriving at the US Ports continue to worsen the situation there, there are still more than 30 container vessel on anchor outside the Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach (LALB) on a daily basis, and the port of Los Angeles alone expects over 185,000 TEUs to be discharged this week, a 331% increase in volumes over last year when CNY and the effects of the pandemic brought ocean shipping almost to a stand-still.

Carriers are trying to circumvent LALB by calling on ports in the Pacific Northwest, but the Port of Oakland starts to see the effects already as now vessels have to anchor outside the port there too, waiting for berth space to get discharged. Carriers are now eying Seattle and Tacoma as first ports of call, but the infrastructure in these ports might not be sufficient to handle a huge influx of cargo that needs to mainly be moved inland.

Vessel delays continue due to ships being held up at the West Coast from returning to their normal rotation schedules, therefore some carriers announced some blank sailings over the next few weeks.

Based on the strong forecasts and the continuing schedule issues we expect the situation to again become very challenging in the next few weeks, and we recommend forward booking as early as possible. Rate levels are still elevated and carriers still require premium charges to be paid, with rates expected to move up in March due to the additional application of fuel-related surcharges.

Please contact your V. Alexander Sales and Customer Service Teams to discuss your individual freight needs and find possible solutions for your supply chain.