EAST COAST :
Asian freight surge puts pressure on NY-NJ empty box returns
High import volumes being diverted from the West Coast is putting renewed pressure on marine terminals at the Port of New York and New Jersey and forcing additional limits on intermodal truckers for returning empty containers to the port. As a result of the high volumes, two marine terminals are considering new rules that match import containers with empty ones. The issue came to a head as seven ocean carriers – CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, Ocean Network Express (ONE), Overseas Orient Container Line (OOCL), HMM, Yang Ming, and Wan Hai Lines – sent notices to New Jersey motor carriers blocking returns of various types of empty containers on various days during the week of April 18-22.
NY-NJ truckers holding over 1,200 empties
A poll from Bi-State showed that 48 motor carriers that responded said they are holding about 1,190 empty ocean containers on their own each day due to having no return location. If an appointment is not available at a terminal, then a motor carrier can’t return an empty, H&M’s Villacampa says, but per-diem can still be charged. Hapag-Lloyd was hit with a US government fine last week for charging per-diem despite knowing that empty return appointments weren’t available.
WEST COAST :
U.S. PORTS COULD GET SLAMMED BY A WAVE OF PENT-UP SUPPLY AS SHANGHAI FACTORIES RACE TO RESTART PRODUCTION
U.S. ports on the West Coast like Los Angeles and Long Beach, which handle more incoming cargo from China than any other U.S. ports, will likely see a sudden influx of deliveries as Shanghai factories exit lockdown. But the West Coast ports are already struggling with congestion, staffing shortages, and constraints on distribution channels.
The tight labor market has resulted in fewer workers available to load and unload ships, and fewer truckers to carry cargo away. Shipping containers—both full and empty—are piling up in U.S. ports, meaning incoming ships, laden with containers, will have to wait offshore until port space can be cleared. Easing the backlog from China will make matters worse.
HAPAG-LLOYD HIT WITH $882,220 US CIVIL PENALTY OVER DETENTION CHARGES
A US administrative law judge on Friday ordered Hapag-Lloyd to pay a California drayage provider $822,220 in civil damages stemming from a Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) investigation into whether the carrier improperly assessed detention charges on 11 containers in mid-2021. In justifying the amount of the penalty, the FMC’s Bureau of Enforcement (BOE) determined that Hapag-Lloyd acted “knowingly and willfully…[in]…imposing and refusing to waive detention charges where there were insufficient appointments to return these empty containers.”
The detention charges, assessed by Hapag-Lloyd’s North America agent to Golden State Logistics (GSL), amounted to $10,135.
PORT FREIGHT SHIFT PRIMES GULF COAST TRUCKING RATES
The shift of international containerized freight from the US West Coast to ports on the East and Gulf coasts is pushing up truck demand in those markets, increasing market truckload volumes and raising transactional rates. That comes even as national average rates, excluding fuel surcharges, drop. Shippers trying to avoid West Coast port congestion are adding to East and Gulf coast import volumes. In February, container volumes jumped by double-digit percentages at ports in Houston, Savannah, Charleston, and Norfolk, according to data from PIERS.