Newsletter- January 10, 2022
AIR FREIGHT UPDATES
US Flight Cancellations Continue As Weather And Omicron Take A Toll
2022 has got off to a very difficult start for the world of commercial aviation in the US. Simple Flying has been following the situation since the holiday season, but the woes brought on by poor weather and coronavirus have now reached the second week of the year. The US saw thousands of delays and cancellations yesterday, with hundreds more expected today. Read more here.
OCEAN FREIGHT UPDATES
Trucker snarl in East China hits Ningbo’s container shipping
A suspension of trucking services in several parts of East China’s Zhejiang province has slowed the transportation of manufactured goods and commodities through one of the world’s most important ports.
There are strict controls on trucks moving goods to or from the Beilun district in Ningbo after the discovery of several cases of Covid-19 in the area, shipping line A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S said in a Thursday customer advisory. This suspension, along with restrictions on truckers in some areas in and around Zhejiang, has halted operations at some yards and warehouses at Ningbo port. Read more here.
New Year brings new all-time high for shipping’s epic traffic jam
Supply chain pressures are trending in the opposite direction of Google searches. The holiday rush may be over, but the offshore traffic jam of container ships is still getting worse, and the volume of inventory on the water (thus unavailable for sale) is still increasing.
As 2022 begins, import volumes remain very strong ahead of China’s Lunar New Year holiday, concerns are mounting about omicron-induced dockworker shortages at U.S. terminals, and the number of container ships waiting for berths in Southern California has — yet again — hit a new high. Read more here (login required)
Containers taking twice as long to reach their destination compared to pre-pandemic period
New data shows how much longer containers are taking to reach their destination on the main east-west tradelanes, helping explain the port snarl-ups seen across the world over the past year.
San Francisco-based freight forwarding and customs brokerage Flexport provides a weekly measurement called the Ocean Timeliness Indicator, which measures the time taken from the moment cargo is ready from the exporter until the importer takes delivery. Read more here.
Omicron outbreak sees Tianjin enter partial lockdown
A breakout of the omicron strain of Covid-19 over the weekend has seen the port city of Tianjin near Beijing enter partial lockdown. Exit controls have been put in place and mass testing is underway in the city, whose population today stands at 14m people. Another 21 cases were reported in the northeastern city on Monday with citizens placed into three tiers of lockdown.
The outbreak comes just weeks ahead of Beijing hosting the Winter Olympics. The Chinese capital is situated just 130 km northwest of Tianjin. Read more here.
Covid, year-end holiday cause uncommon backlog at Port of New York and New Jersey
The Port of New York and New Jersey is facing a backlog of some 10 to 12 container ships, an unusual occurrence that has been attributed to Covid, combined with December holiday time off for workers, an increase in charter vessels requiring berth space and a major snowstorm last week.
“We have seen a spike in the number of labor going out into quarantine,” said port authority director Sam Ruda. Jim McNamara, a spokesman for the International Longshoremen’s Association, said that the 350 or so members off each day because of Covid are being somewhat offset, however, by the availability of other workers from cruiseship terminals. Read more here.
Letter from Bangladesh: congested Chittagong and a new airline
A desperate Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) last week urged shippers to remove boxes from the badly congested port.
It wrote to shippers requesting they move containers quickly, as both the less-than-container load (LCL) and full-container-load (FCL) sheds are full.
Yesterday, some 43,679 teu was lying at the port yards, up from 42,324 teu on Saturday. Read more here (login required).
GROUND AND RAIL FREIGHT UPDATES
Union seeks two-year reprieve on Port of Vancouver ban on trucks more than 10 years old
As of February 1, the Port of Vancouver, Canada’s largest port, will ban all container trucks older than 10 years from port grounds. The ban will “force hundreds of container trucks out of the Metro Vancouver port transportation system,” according to Unifor, the union that represents truck drivers at the port. This “will cause chaos in a system already under unique pressure from the pandemic, flooding and supply chain issues,” says the union. Read more here.
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS – GOVERNMENT UPDATES
Staff shortages due to Omicron causing panic in logistics industry
With a tidal wave of Omicron cases, many logistics firms across the UK are panicking as existing supply pressures are exacerbated by high numbers of delivery drivers, warehouse workers and other logistics staff isolating at home, says UK-based manual handling experts, Midland Pallet Trucks.
Despite orders to work from home where possible to contain the virus and reduce transmissions, recent Government guidance does little to protect businesses in the manufacturing and logistics industries, where work is unable to be completed at home. Although double-vaccinated workers no longer have to quarantine for 10 days, the lack of testing availability will prove difficult for businesses trying to monitor Covid infections in warehouses across the country. Read more here.