November 2022 – Ocean Market Update

By In Insight On 17th November 2022

Tip of the Month

We suggest booking a couple of weeks in advance and avoid routing cargo via congested ports, if possible, to avoid delays in delivery.

The decline of ocean volumes from Asia to the USA will likely continue for the rest of the year. Lower demand may help normalize rates. This downward trend will motivate carriers to reduce capacity by voiding sailings to keep rates from dropping to non-compensatory levels. U.S. West Coast (USWC) lanes will experience the greatest impact.

Labor Negotiations

Labor negotiations continue between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA.) The lack of agreement accelerated the shift of cargo to U.S. South and East Coast ports over the past six months, growing congestion in ports such as Houston, Savannah, Charleston, and Baltimore. Overall, USWC ports are much less congested today than last year.

Another labor agreement between railroads and workers' unions is still pending, making it difficult for USWC ports to be a reliable option for moving cargo into U.S. inland point intermodal (IPI) destinations. Overall, the situation is fluid despite the improvement in space availability and the drop in waiting times from origins in Asia. Many U.S. rail yards, such as Chicago, Kansas City, and Memphis, are still congested due to a shortage of equipment, chassis, and accumulated cargo. Many carriers are offering a solution, moving long dwell containers offsite to nearby container yards to help alleviate the situation and minimize the burden on shippers regarding storage and cargo availability for delivery.

Rates, Equipment, and Schedules

On the export side, rates are stable for now. However, schedule reliability is low, with carriers making schedule changes. Chicago is still the most reliable IPI location. In comparison, Kansas City and Memphis are seeing congestion related to equipment & chassis challenges. Overall, equipment availability is fair in most ports.

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