Welcome to our Drayage News Updates blog, your go-to source for weekly bullet points on the latest events in the dynamic world of drayage shipping. Get the latest news and industry updates for drayage, container shipping and imports for the U.S. Stay informed about current happenings and gain valuable insights into the industry's trends, regulations, and innovations. Our concise and straightforward summaries will keep you up to date with the ever-changing landscape of container shipping, making us your trusted destination for all things Drayage.
November 20th: US Retailers Anticipate Record Holiday Sales Despite Lower Import Volumes Throughout the Year
- In October, US imports from Asia reached the highest point in 2023, with containerized imports increasing by 5.9% from September and 12.4% from October 2022, as retailers rushed to stock up ahead of the holiday sales season. (JOC)
- Despite the October surge, year-to-date imports were down by 16.6% YoY, attributed to softer import volumes throughout the year due to factors such as inflation and high-interest rates.
- However, US retailers are still anticipating record holiday sales this year of $966.6bn, up 3% to 4% over last year, and the Global Port Tracker forecasts continued year-over-year growth in imports at least through March 2024.
November 13th: Port of Houston Experiences Growing Congestion
- Over the past 2 weeks, ocean container dwell time at the Port of Houston increased by a full day, to 4 days wait time, for picking up a container once discharged, indicating increased congestion.
October 30th: NACPC Launches MPOC to Double Chassis Pool and Boost Interoperability in Memphis
- The North American Chassis Pool Cooperative (NACPC) has launched the Memphis Pool of Choice (MPOC) in response to frustration among truckers and cargo owners with restrictions on chassis used for hauling ocean containers. The goal is to double the pool's current 2,500 units within a year, with NACPC and Milestone Equipment Holdings as primary chassis suppliers. (JOC)
- MPOC aims to promote interoperability, allowing any chassis to be used with any container. NACPC is competing with Consolidated Chassis Management (CCM) in the Memphis market, claiming to offer a better chassis pool, while CCM believes NACPC's approach may further fragment interoperability and hinder efficiency. (JOC)
October 23rd: Trans-Pacific Carriers Turn to Lázaro Cárdenas Port to Overcome Draft Limitations at Panama Canal
- Trans-Pacific ocean carriers are increasingly using Mexico's Port of Lázaro Cárdenas as an alternative route to reach the US Midwest, bypassing the draft limitations of the Panama Canal. This shift is driven by the desire to tap into the port's strategic advantages and growing intermodal opportunities. (JOC)
- Although Lázaro Cárdenas is the second-busiest container port in Mexico, it was not a regular stop for trans-Pacific services. However, this is changing rapidly. Carriers like Zim Integrated Shipping are now adding it as a direct call, creating a gateway for US-bound cargo with an emphasis on selected US inland destinations.
October 16th: West Coast Ports Report Surge in Market Share for US-bound Freight from Asia
- US Imports from Asia show a slight YoY gain in September at +1.4%, up from August’s -14.7% YoY. A significant portion of this freight has landed on the West Coast. Port and terminal sources are confident the uptick in West Coast market share will continue. (JOC)
- Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, said retailers in September began to return an increasing share of their discretionary cargo to the West Coast following the ILWU contract ratification. Key items to watch for shippers looking to move freight back to the West Coast are the Panama Canal water levels and the East Coast ILA contract negotiations ahead in 2024. (The Business Journals)
October 9th: Port of Savannah Battling Backlog of Vessels Amid Recent Closures
- The Port of Savannah is working its way through a backlog of 16 vessels that have been stacking up in recent weeks amid a string of closures. While shippers say the situation — which could linger through mid-November — is less than ideal, many noted there has been no significant impact yet. (JOC)
- Savannah’s Container Discharge Dwell time is currently 2.37 days, which is in line with where it has been through the summer; it’s also the shortest of the major ports across the country.
October 2nd: PN2 Service Absorbs Calls as The Alliance Cancels PN3 Service Following Market Turmoil
- The Alliance, a group of major ocean carriers, has suspended its Pacific Northwest 3 (PN3) service due to the current market situation, adding to a series of canceled sailings and service changes aimed at balancing ship supply with import demand. The Pacific Northwest 2 (PN2) service will absorb calls to the Asian ports previously served by PN3. (The Loadstar)
- The trans-Pacific trade route is experiencing significant service cuts and blank sailings as Asian imports to the US decline. Drewry's canceled sailings tracker indicates that the trans-Pacific will account for the majority of canceled sailings between mid-September and the end of October, potentially leading to schedule disruptions and delays for shippers and beneficial cargo owners.
September 26th: Container Shipping Industry Takes Bold Steps Towards Decarbonization with Green Corridor Announcement
- A green shipping corridor was announced between the ports of LA, Long Beach, and Shanghai to combat the global climate crisis. These are accelerated decarbonization efforts steps in reducing the emissions of container ships, but that comes at a cost which would be pushed to down to the customer. Some analysts are expecting costs to be in the trillions over the next 2-3 decades.
- Zim, one of the worlds largest shipping lines, is looking to take advantage of the Port of Savannah’s expanded refrigerated cargo infrastructure by creating a direct route to the West Coast of South America.
September 18: On-Time Performance for Trans-Pacific Vessels Set to Plummet as a Result of Mass Cancellations
- Trans-Pacific lines are responding to the weak import volumes by blanking 200k+ TEUs of capacity in September and have announced an additional 370k+ TEUs in blanks for October, about 14% of trans-Pacific capacity, according to Sea-Intelligence.,
- To prevent freight rates from collapsing, trans-Pacific carriers will reduce effective capacity through a “massive number of blank sailings,” Alan Murphy, CEO of Sea-Intelligence, said. Those canceled sailings will drag down vessel on-time performance, which is already at the dismal levels ~40% to the West Coast and ~39% to the East Coast.
- Given the above, and less any major disruption or enormous surge in demand, shippers should expect low container rates and low service levels heading into 2024.