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        Port Congestion Soars & Increased Fees Imminent Amid Covid-19 Crisis

        Port Congestion Soars & Increased Fees Imminent Amid Covid-19 Crisis

        The nationwide chassis shortage and terminal congestion has worsened in the last few weeks. This is especially true for Chicago, Savannah, Memphis, and Houston. Additionally, Los Angeles is clogged with more inbound container vessels; the most since February and nearly matching their record queue of 40 anchored vessels.

        Transpacific trade routes face major disruption, in part, due to the uptick of Covid-19 outbreaks among employees at a major China port. The global shortage of containers persists. Terminal closures could increase pressure on already-stretched shipping costs and timing is critical. With the holiday season approaching, and the predicted increase of goods from Asia, the bottleneck raises several new concerns.

        For months, Chicago has struggled with capacity, chassis, and labor shortages. All ramps have experienced severe congestion. Effective August 2nd, BNSF also announced the demurrage rate will be increased to much higher rate, acknowledging the ongoing challenges while working to increase capacity.

        In a July 2021 release, BNSF noted the following: “While high dwell is causing challenges across BNSF’s entire intermodal network, our Logistics Park Chicago (LPC) and Los Angeles intermodal facilities have been particularly challenged. BNSF has taken several actions to address these challenges, including adding additional ground stacking capabilities and expanding our use of off-site parking. However, the final mile delivery is not keeping pace with container availability, which is key to maintaining fluid hub operations.”

        Logistical concerns persist throughout the Nation-
        Savanna, GA is experiencing a huge volume surge, with daily anchoring hovering around 15 vessels.

        Memphis, TN continues to experience extreme rail congestion with no immediate improvement in sight.

        Houston, TX Bayport and Barbourscut were closed from 7/27 through 3pm on 7/29/2021, which added to the backlog and worsened the chassis shortage situation.

        Overall, the situation remains extremely challenging. Potential demurrage, additional prepull, storage, chassis rental fee, waiting time/port congestion fee, and per diem charges are already becoming evident.

        Chicago- On/after ETD 8/15, Chicago CP rail will have mandatory prepull charge $225/CNTR, and all other Chicago ramps will have mandatory prepull charge $150/CNTR.

        Memphis- Effective 8/15/2021 based on CNTR out-gate date, Memphis NS, UP (Marion) will have rail congestion fee $150/CNTR; while Memphis BNSF, CN, CSX will have rail congestion fee $125/CNTR.

        Houston- Since ETD 8/1/2021, Houston Port or Rail has had a port congestion fee $150/CNTR.

        Los Angeles/Long Beach- Since ETD 7/1/2021, LA/LGB has had a port congestion fee $150/CNTR.

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