General Update – May 2021


LCL Cargo Surcharges from USA:

Cargo consolidators from USA have/will implement Container Freight Station (CFS) Congestion Surcharges for all LCL cargo received in New York/New Jersey, Chicago and Los Angeles/Long Beach facilities due to the current congestion in these facilities.

The surcharges are effective from 1st May, 2021 at a rate of USD 4.00 per cbm/1000kgs and surcharges have been added to the GPSM web rates module.


Montreal Port:

An on-going industrial dispute at the Port of Montreal has been thwarted by the Canadian Government passing urgent legislation that has ordered 1150 dock workers back to work immediately.

Non-compliance by either dockers or port employers carried fines of up to C$100,000 a day. The bill also provides for the appointment of a mediator-arbitrator who will have the power to impose a binding new collective agreement within 90 days.

Such government intervention was sought by increasingly anxious business circles across the country and the Ontario and Quebec provincial governments along with Canada’s 2nd largest port serving shippers in a large hinterland that includes the U.S. Midwest.

“This new turning point lets the Port of Montreal regain stability and the capability to fulfill its strategic role as a public service without long-term interruptions,” said Martin Imbleau, President and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority. This role is especially important while we are still in the middle of a pandemic.”   Port operations commenced returning to normal on Saturday 1st May, 2021.


Vehicle Booking Fees:

In our Newsletter dated 24th February, 2021, we announced that vehicle booking fees at Australian ports were being increased by terminal operators from 1 March, 2021.

GPSM have tried to work around the new costs of $ 40.00 per booking, and had not passed on the increase to clients. Please note the increased costs will now have to be passed on as we are unable to continue to absorb these costs.

The new costs have been added to GPSM rate portal and are being invoiced as from 1st May, 2021.


USA congestion:

Vessels continue to line up at USA ports resulting in continued unloading and loading operations. The volume of vessels arriving in USA has increased by 50% on the same time last year and is stretching resources and equipment to the limit.

Shippers moving goods to and from inland US points continue to grapple with delays and rail fees as the ongoing surge in freight causes congestion at nearly all North American ports, causing a ripple effect to the inland intermodal ramps.

Unprecedented volumes of cargo have overwhelmed key inland hubs such as Chicago, Dallas, Memphis and Kansas City, making it difficult for shippers to pick up from “wheeled facilities,” where arriving containers are normally mounted to chassis for truckers to pick up. With chassis shortages currently persisting at the ramps, terminals are grounding (and often stacking) those containers, resulting in demurrage fees.

“Instead of getting 30 or 40 boxes off a block of cars every day, you’re getting full trains coming in with 250 to 275 containers,” Van Noel, chief operating officer of chassis provider, TRAC Intermodal said. “Recently, we had a train arrive in Cleveland from a western railroad interchanged with the CSX with around 272 boxes on it. That’s very unusual and we’re just not fleeted for that.”

At the same time, shippers are contributing to the problem by keeping equipment longer. Like the marine ports, inland terminals depend on the returning equipment and those that are kept longer slow the unloading of inbound freight.


Global Equipment Shortage continues:

The stocks of empty containers globally are continuing to be depleted due to overwhelming demand, the recent Suez Canal closure only adding to the problem. Many thousands of empty containers being repositioned at that time were caught in the canal closure and are now late arriving at load ports desperate for empty equipment. In particular, USA and most European origins are extremely short of stock, leading to additional delays for bookings to be processed. Some shipping lines are advising of delays up to four (4) weeks before bookings can be confirmed.

According to industry experts, we are unlikely to see an easing of demand n 2021 given the unusually high demand for cargo bookings globally, despite the fact that some shipping have already added hundreds of thousands of new-build containers to stocks already in 2021.


Fremantle Tugs Industrial Action:

Svitzer (the National Tug Operator) has received notice of protected industrial action for their Fremantle operations for 24 hours  on Thursday, 6th May, 2021.

The company is working on alternate arrangements to minimise the impact on vessel arrivals and departures.