Weekly COVID-19 Update

Posted 05/01/2020

South Africa: South Africa has lifted the lockdown on wine exports, and as of today, May 1, alcoholic beverages can move again. Local sales and distribution of alcohol remain closed, but the country has moved from Level 5 to Level 4 restrictions and some industries have been allowed to resume operations. The wine industry can resume essential procurement and operations under strict health and safety protocols and the transport of wine to ports and airport and over the road for export is now permitted.

USA Port Review: Even as some countries are rounding the bend in terms of COVID-19 and some states are beginning to re-open business, the shipping industry in the US is seeing an impact on cargo volumes and blank sailings. While carriers continue to announce blank vessel sailings around the world, some ports in the US have needed to scale down hours and staff due to lack of volume. Please see below for list of some of the key terminal closures for the month of May:

Norfolk: VIG open 7am to 6pm M-F, Closed on Saturday. NIT open 7am to 6pm M-F. PMT will close for container business May 4th

Baltimore: Gate closures announced weekly depending on volumes

Port Everglades: Temporary cease of operations and gate closure on Thursdays until further notice

Miami POMTOC: Gate closures announced weekly depending on volumes (Closed Monday 5/4)

Long Beach: Pier A gate closures announced weekly depending on volumes

LAX: APM terminal gate closures announced weekly depending on volumes

Seattle: Closed on some Fridays including 5/1 and 5/8

Savannah: reducing gate hours to 7am – 6pm Monday-Friday and suspending Saturday gate receiving through 5/30

Terminal Change Announcement:  Maersk/Hamburg Sud has announced that they will be changing terminals from Global Container Terminal (GCT) on Staten Island NY to APM Terminals in Port Elizabeth NJ for their South America and Oceania services. The first vessels calls for APM will be on or after May 21. Please let us know if you have any questions.

CBMA Update: We know many of you continue to await payments on CBMA/Craft Beverage Modernization Act claims that are pending—some since 2018. We continue our regular conversations with CBP and can confirm that processing of claims is continuing “as usual” with the import specialists working remotely and minimal disruption due to the COVID 19 crisis. The CBMA team at Customs conducts weekly calls to review claims. The more complex claims are taking longer to process, but we continue to receive reports that importers are still receiving checks. There is continued pressure on CBP to process the claims as quickly as possible, especially due to the greater need during this difficult time.

FMC Announcement on Demurrage and Detention Guidelines: Even with the difficulty COVID-19 has brought, some silver linings can be found. Finally, after years of negotiation and pressure from importers & exporters, the FMC has announced that it will formally adopt Commissioner Rebecca Dye’s Proposed Rule to place restraints on demurrage and detention charges. The rule proposes that carriers & terminals should not charge detention or demurrage per diem when it is not possible for the shipper or trucker to pick up or return the container within the allotted “free time.” This is a huge victory for importers and exporters alike and will hopefully alleviate some of the financial burden within the US supply chain. Read the full FMC Announcement for further details.

THANK YOU to the beverage industry: We receive reports every day of the generosity of our members supporting those devastated by the COVID 19 crisis. From production and donation of hand sanitizer to direct financial support for bartenders, restaurants, and groups in need, the beverage alcohol industry is stepping to the plate. THANK YOU also to our partner Albatrans for assisting on shipping services and donating time to help ship and clear essential supplies.

We will continue to keep tabs on the global logistics situation and provide updates as needed. As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Stay safe!