California’s massive container-ship traffic jam is still really jammed

Peak shipping season is coming soon — and the “parking lot” of container ships stuck at anchor off the coast of California is still there, with Oakland surpassing Los Angeles/Long Beach as the epicenter of congestion.

Shipping giant Maersk warned in a customer advisory on Wednesday that Los Angeles and Long Beach “remain strained with vessel wait times averaging between one to two weeks.” But it said “the situation is even more dire at the Port of Oakland, where wait times now extend up to three weeks.”

West Coast port delays are having severe fallout for liner schedules. Congestion in California equates to canceled voyages as ships can’t get back to Asia in time to load cargo. Even as U.S. import demand soars, the effective capacity in the trans-Pacific trade is being sharply curtailed by voyage cancellations.

For importers, that means even longer delays, even higher all-in freight rates and a cap on how much can be shipped at any price.  

Maersk said that 20% of its capacity from Asia to the West Coast has been lost year to date as a result of operationally induced “blank” (canceled) sailings. It currently expects 16% of its Asia-West Coast capacity to be lost from now until the end of June and 13% to be lost from now until the end of August. “This unfortunately means Maersk may not be able to fully honor its original allocations for all customers,” the carrier admitted.

To put current cancellations in context, they are now running at the same percentage that carriers intentionally blanked in Q2 2020 to compensate for the sudden collapse of import demand when U.S. businesses were shuttered by nationwide lockdowns.

(Read the full article via American Shipper)

Yantian Port halts entry for export containers

The Port of Yantian said it will stop taking in loaded containers as congestion at the export hub in Southern China deteriorates.

The restriction will be implemented from 2200 hrs local time on May 25 to 2359 hrs on May 27 and will only be partly lifted afterwards for export boxes with their vessels expected to arrive at the port within the next four days.

Pickups of import or empty containers, however, will still be allowed over the period.

The decision was made due to “the serious delay in ship schedule has led to extremely high density at Yantian’s storage yard and has severely affected the operational efficiency at terminals”, a port statement said.

Schedules of vessels arriving in China have been partly disrupted by the pandemic-led logistics bottleneck at some foreign ports, especially those in the US, as well as by the fallout from the Suez Canal blockage.

However, Yantian’s move also comes with an ongoing coronavirus outbreak in the port area since last week.

The local health authorities reported another infection case on Tuesday following four confirmed earlier. All five port workers were involved in handling the Panama-flagged containership OOCL Vancouver on May 17.

It also warned that more cases might be found in the coming days.

The situation has raised carriers’ concerns over a worsening logistics logjam at the port.

Maersk told Lloyd’s List in a statement: “We expect the Yantian port congestion level will increase due to the quarantine measures implemented by local authorities, contingency plans for service recovery will be reviewed from our side.”

The city’s transport bureau has asked ports, shipping lines and logistics companies to tighten up their anti-virus measures, which could lead to further delay in vessel calls and cargo clearance based on past experience.

Port sources said Yantian has ordered a 14-day quarantine period for vessels with crew members who have tested positive. The isolation will start from the disembarkment date of the infected seafarers on board.

Crew with recent travel to ”high-risk” countries, such as India, are also requested to have a swab test before their vessels are allowed to dock.

Lloyd’s List has sought comments from the local port authorities.

Some carriers are said to have started to avoid Yantian to prevent further service delays.

(Source: Lloyd’s Loading List)

Canada shutting the border to most non-citizens due to COVID-19: Trudeau

Exceptions will be in place for U.S. citizens, diplomats, crew and immediate family members of citizens

Canada is barring entry to all travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or Americans, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today — one of a set of extraordinary new measures being introduced to stop the spread of COVID-19.

There will be exceptions for air crew, diplomats, immediate family members of citizens and, “at this time,” U.S. citizens, Trudeau said.

The prime minister also said no one who is displaying symptoms will be permitted to board a flight to Canada, and that air operators will be required to complete a basic health assessment of every passenger based on guidelines from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

“I know this news will spark concern among Canadians travelling abroad. I want to assure you that our government will not leave you unsupported,” he said.

“To help asymptomatic Canadians to return home, our government will set up a support program for Canadians who need to get on a plane. Canadian travellers will be able to get financial assistance to help them with the costs of returning home or temporarily covering basic needs while they wait to come back to Canada.”

Trudeau also said that as of March 18, international flights will be permitted to land only at the international airports in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, in order to enhance screening.

“I know that these measures are far-reaching. They are exceptional circumstances calling for exceptional measures,” he said.

Trudeau said the new border controls will not apply to trade and commerce in order to keep Canada’s supply chains open.

An official in the PMO said the measures will be in place “as long as necessary” because the situation is “evolving.”

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the decision to keep the border open to Americans was made to reflect the integration of the two economies and populations, and to maintain essential supply lines for things like food.

“That border is absolutely vital to the daily lives of the people who live on both sides of that border,” she said.

Everyone arriving in Canada from another country is now going to be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Essential workers, including air crews and truck drivers, will be exempted from that rule, Freeland said.

Canada’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Monday that new measures are necessary to slow the spread of the virus. She’s now recommending that gatherings of 50 or more people should be avoided.

“All Canadians must act now to interrupt chains of transmission,” she said.

Providing updated COVID-19 numbers, Tam said there are now more than 175,000 cases around the world, including 407 in Canada.

There have been four deaths in Canada.

The full story can be found at the CBC website: