News - Shipping

Port of Baltimore Update

April 1, 2024

The Maryland Port Administration has been providing regular updates on the status of the Port of Baltimore after last week's tragedy involving the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse and will continue to do so as the restoration process gets underway. 

Currently engineers are on site assessing the damage and how best to proceed in removing the bridge steel from on top of the vessel safely and economically. The Army Corps of Engineers is also on site and putting their efforts toward widening the channel so some smaller vessels can pass through. The Port Administration promises to continue updates as they become available. 

Other East Coast ports have stepped up to provide their support by taking incoming cargo originally destined for Baltimore. The Port of NY/NJ in particular will process the majority of Baltimore-bound cargo. With the port's capacity levels and service availability, we do not expect this to create any delays in processing. 

We will continue to provide updates as they become available, and we continue to send our thoughts to those impacted by last week's events.

Situation in Red Sea Escalates

January 12, 2024

The situation in the Red Sea continues to escalate. Overnight US and UK warships and aircrafts launched waves of missiles at Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen as retaliation for attacking carrier vessels in the Red Sea. It is yet to be determined how the Houthi will react.

These recent events seem to have impacted the steamship lines. AIS vessel trackers show 16 vessels have made U-turns since the attack. Satellites show the vessels are either in transit away from the area or are in a holding position. We continue to be in a period of uncertainty, and the additional emergency surcharges from the carriers are still in play.

As reported earlier, we are working diligently with our carrier relationships to mitigate these surcharges as much as possible, and will continue the pressure to cancel any charges for cargo that is not moving through the affected area. As we continue to work to find solutions for all of our contracts, please be aware of the possibility of increased costs in the coming weeks.

Strike in Germany

January 5, 2024

In Germany, the German Farmers' Association is currently calling for a nationwide strike for rail transport next week, beginning January 8th and concluding January 15th. Rail operators, farmers and freight forwarders will all take part in the strike which is expected to significantly restrict transportation throughout the country and at German Ports. Please plan for impact to port areas and road/railways in the next week. Our colleagues in Germany are working diligently to mitigate any potential delays caused by this strike, and we hope to keep cargo flowing as smoothly as possible. 

We will continue to keep you informed on this situation, and please contact us with any questions. 

Check Out Alison Leavitt's Contribution to the JOC Annual Review & Outlook!

January 3, 2024

WSSA's Managing Director, Alison Leavitt, has provided her expertise on the global shipping industry in the Journal of Commerce Annual Review & Outlook. Check out her contribution at the link below!

Read Alison's analysis on key progressions within the shipping industry, and discover what is in store for 2024!

Alison Leavitt, JOC ARO Contribution

Red Sea Situation: Surcharges Announced

December 21, 2023

As reported earlier in the week, the risk factors in the Red Sea have led to ocean carriers re-routing vessels via the Cape of Good Hope, adding additional days of transit and additional costs. Surcharges are being announced by the carriers and some of these are including cargo that is outside the Red Sea area. Please see attached link to the MSC announcement that extends a significant surcharge and includes the West Med, Adriatic, NWC (Northwest Continent and Scanbaltic area) to USA, Canada, and Mexico ports.  

We will keep you updated as this situation develops and as always, please contact WSSA should you have any questions.

Red Sea Disruption Update

December 19, 2023

The ongoing situation in Gaza has recently sparked targeted attacks on Israeli-owned vessel cargo. The situation has escalated and expanded to include threats of attack on any ship that calls at Israeli ports and further evolved to the point that all ships are being targeted without any apparent connection to Israel. Out of caution, carriers have begun to divert their vessel transits of the Red Sea and Suez Canal. Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd vessels that were set to pass through the Bab al-Mandab Straight will cease their journey until further notice. CMA vessels have been instructed to reach safe areas and pause their transits until further notice. MSC has suspended all transit of the Suez Canal in either direction, and many of their services will be rerouted to go via the Cape of Good Hope. The diversion to Cape of Good Hope is the primary alternative to avoid transit of the Suez Canal, and we expect many other carriers to announce this move as well.

This stoppage and diversion of vessels will have an immediate and long-lasting impact on equipment availability and flow of goods if the situation does not improve quickly. Operating costs could increase, emergency surcharges could be implemented and transit times could be extended by up to four weeks. For more information, please find the attached article from Freightwaves for reference. Additionally, several insurance providers have announced premium increases for cargo traveling to/from Israel and Lebanon, and other providers have refused coverage to/from that region altogether. The January 1 reinsurance treaties are also on the radar, as they can restrict coverage provided by cargo insurers, which is a likely probability given the current situation. 

We will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates as they are available.

Potential Disruptions - Italy & Chile

November 2, 2023

Italy is currently facing severe weather conditions that are impacting operations at various ports. Livorno, La Spezia and Genova are all experiencing the rough weather and La Spezia port is currently closed. 

In some cases, carriers are omitting calls on these ports due to docking difficulties. If you have cargo departing Italy, please plan for additional lead time until this weather system passes. We will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates as available. 

In the Southern Hemisphere, the pass connecting Chile and Argentina also experienced some severe weather systems this week. The pass was closed as of last Friday, but in some fortunate news has been re-opened today. Cargo is once again flowing and the weather appears to be clearing for the time being. We will continue to monitor this situation accordingly. 

Truck Inspections in Laredo

October 16, 2023

Our freight forwarding partner Albatrans has notified us that, as per Chief CBP officer (World Trade Bridge, Laredo, TX) the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has begun truck inspections at their facility outside the Colombia Solidarity Bridge in Laredo, TX.
Currently the inspections are expected to remain in place until further notice. Please expect delays for truck processing at the Colombia Solidarity Bridge as a result of these DPS inspections. As of now, no DPS inspections are being conducted at the World Trade Bridge. 
Please find the attached complete update for refernece, and further updates will follow as they are received. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us or our partner Albatrans for further information. 

ILWU Announce Strike in Canada

June 29, 2023

ILWU Canada has called for a strike beginning Saturday, July 1st after recent negotiations between workers and maritime employers have yielded no satisfactory results. The strike would impact British Columbia ports, including Vancouver, where cargo is currently flowing undisturbed. The work stoppage may cause some backup on the West Coast as ports in the US are still fighting to recover from the impact of their own ILWU negotiation period. 

ILWU Canada has stated that their top priorities for negotiations include wage increases, concerns regarding automation, and limiting non-union labor at ports. They feel that since these concerns have not been recognized, this strike action, which has no definitive end date, is their only course of action. 

For now please plan for potential delays if you have any cargo coming into West Coast ports, especially in Canada. We will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates accordingly. 

Strike Activity - USWC and France

April 7, 2023

USWC: In the latest news, the largest ILWU local on the West Coast has taken strike action to cease labor at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which has resulted in widespread worker shortages. Without the appropriate workforce, cargo handling at LA/LB terminals is at a stand-still and has been since yesterday afternoon. With LA/LB being the largest gateway for maritime trade within the United States, this work stoppage could create significant delays and backlog. During a time of ongoing contract negotiations, we hope that the parties can come to swift resolution so the terminals can resume normal operations. 

France: Across the Atlantic, political upheaval continues in France, with more strikes being called for next week.  

  • Fos sur mer port will endure strikes every day during a four hour period and on Thursday, April 13th, the port will be closed all day as a designated national strike day .
  • Le Havre port has not confirmed yet, but we can expect the same daily four hour strike period, and port closure on Thursday, April 13th. 

Once again, we are working on alternative solutions through other European ports with diversion rates in place to keep cargo flowing. 

Updates on France Strikes

March 27, 2023

Tensions continue to run high in France as political unrest causes more strike and protest action. Last Thursday protesters set the door of Bordeaux city hall ablaze, and other large French cities have seen similar protest actions. 

Further disappointing news was received this morning regarding strikes at French ports: 

  • Fos-sur-mer Port: Strikes will be held every day this week between the hours of 11am and 3pm. Tuesday, March 28th the port will be closed all day due to National strike.
  • Le Havre Port: Strikes will be held every day this week between the hours of 12 and 4pm. Tuesday, March 28th the port will be closed all day due to National strike. 

Our offices in France are working diligently to provide alternative solutions through other European ports, with diversion rates applicable. 

We will continue to keep you updated on this situation and provide updates as they become available. 

France Strikes this Week

March 20, 2023

Ongoing political issues in France continue to cause significant strike activities that are impacting logistics operations throughout the country. This week national strikes are announced for March 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. Both Le Havre and Fos terminals will be affected. During the strike days full containers cannot be in-gated nor can empty containers be removed. Additionally, some vessel calls have been cancelled, attempting to avoid delays coming from Fos and Le Havre. Some shipping lines are even now refusing inland carrier haulage as they cannot guarantee entry for the containers at terminal. Due to the strike days this week, containers will only be able to be in-gated sporadically, and our Albatrans colleagues in France will be doing their best to find the open time slots and mitigate costs as much as possible. 

Please continue to expect increased costs and delays for cargo in this region. We will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates as available. 

NZ and France Experiencing Disruptions

February 13, 2023

In New Zealand's North Island, residents are bracing for the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle which is expected to bring torrential rainfall and severe winds. Thousands of people are already without power, and a state of emergency has been declared in nine regions. As a result of this storm, logistics operations have been limited. These limitations include grounded flights and cancelled ferry service between the North and South Islands, preventing cargo from flowing until the transport conditions are once again safe. We will continue to keep you posted on this issue, but please expect potential delays for any cargo scheduled to depart the region in the next few days. 

In France, disruption continues with more strikes scheduled for Thursday, February 16th. This ongoing strike action is once again impacting operations at the ports of Fos-sur-Mer and Le Havre, preventing any containers from entering the port or any pickups of empty containers. Operations will resume once the strike has been completed, but please plan for potential delays due to the work stoppage. 

Disruption in Italy and South Africa

February 10, 2023

Italy: This morning our offices in Italy notified us of a disruption to the Italian Customs Authorities system, which was subject to a cyber attack. The attack is causing issues in the system and creating a blockage for processing clearances. Currently, there is no update on when the system will be fixed; so please plan for potential shipment delays. We will keep you informed of any updates to this situation. 

South Africa: Meanwhile, in Cape Town, the port is struggling with delays and vessel omissions. This week the port was severely impacted by poor weather conditions. Additionally, equipment breakdown at Durban port has impacted cargo flows as well. Thankfully, this morning all equipment is back in operation; however, it may take some time for the ports to catch up on the backlog that has grown due to these issues. Again, we will keep you informed of the situation as updates become available.

Strikes in France

January 17, 2023

This week France announced that a union strike will take place to protest against the pension reform measures launched by the French government. French unions have called for cross-sector strikes and street rallies for Thursday January 19th. Many professional sectors will be impacted, along with transport activities and port operations.

As of now, both Le Havre and Fos-sur-mer port activities will be stopped for 24 hours on Thursday.

Please plan for some disruptions due to the strike; but as usual, we will do our best to find solutions to keep cargo moving as much as possible. 

San Antonio Strike Continues

November 22, 2022

As we reported last week, the strike in Chile's San Antonio port continues with all vessel operations stopped at the moment. Along with the work stoppage, the country is experiencing severe marine weather with heavy swell warnings in place until at least tomorrow. Already this week, one vessel has had to cancel their call and one has been forced to delay their arrival. Containers are currently be rerouted accordingly. If you have any questions regarding a specific container, please reach out to your freight forwarder. 

On top of the current strike and the weather issues, yesterday marked the start of the National Truckers Strike in Chile, as truckers are requesting more security measures on the roads and adjustments to fuel prices. 

We will continue to monitor these situations and provide updates as they become available. 

Strike in San Antonio

November 17, 2022

Though strike action is subsiding in some areas around the world, our offices in Chile have just notified us today of a new strike at San Antonio port. The strike involving port workers has suspended port operations as of today at 8am. Unfortunately, the strike is set to continue indefinitely. 

On top of the strike news, San Antonio port is also experiencing heavy swell warnings, which may impact vessel operations as well as any departing or arriving vessels. The heavy swells are expected to last until November 22nd. 

We are working closely with our colleagues in Chile to mitigate any potential delays, but please be aware that vessel sailings and operations will be impacted

Global Disruption Updates

November 15, 2022

New Zealand: As we have previously reported, back in August New Zealand suffered severe rainfall and flooding which caused several road closures and shut down major highways. One of those highways SH 6 - the main route between Blenheim and Nelson - is now undergoing repairs and will be closed until December 18th until those repairs are finalized. As an alternative, traffic will be diverted through SH 63. However, due to this diversion, additional charges will be applicable for cargo shipping EXW. The charges will only be applicable until December 18th when the repairs are scheduled to conclude. 

Australia: Australian towing company Svitzer announced an indefinite lockout of its employees beginning this Friday. When the lockout becomes effective, no vessels will be towed in or out of Australian ports, which will have a big impact on shipping operations. This lockout is in response to industrial action taken by the employees and their unions. 

In other news, due to severe weather hitting Australia over the weekend, many regions there have suffered from flooding and road closures. Unfortunately, a train derailment occurred on the Adelaide to Melbourne line which has caused a rail closure until at least December 5th. Containers are working to be redirected to Melbourne via other routes, but additional delays should be expected.

We are continuing to follow these situations closely, but please plan for additional congestion and delays if you have cargo shipping from Australia.    

Spain: In better news, the truckers strike we reported on last week has officially been called off. Thankfully, disruption was minimal, and cargo flow has returned to normal. 

South Africa Strike Over

October 20, 2022

The two week strike that has crippled South African ports and export commodities is finally over! Earlier this week South Africa's largest union agreed to a three year wage agreement which includes a 6% increase for the first and third year and a 5.5% increase for the second year. While smaller unions have not officially jumped on board, they have agreed to halt strike action. 

The country's number one priority now will be clearing the backlog that occurred from the multi-week work stoppage. While this effort is being tackled full-force, it may take weeks or even months for the supply chain to normalize. Entering into the holiday season, the country may still be in for several difficult weeks ahead.

Strikes, Strikes, Strikes

October 14, 2022

South Africa: After rejecting a revised pay proposal, the labor unions in South Africa continue to strike across ports and transport hubs. This disruption of rail and port services is creating huge issues for the country’s key export commodities and putting the economy in a difficult position. Negotiations are continuing with the two parties hoping to reach a satisfactory agreement, but there is no definite answer as to when the strike activity will cease. 

UK: The port of Liverpool has just announced that they will engage in a third round of strikes – this time from Oct. 24 to Nov. 7th. As was the case with the previous two walkouts, the labor unions are disputing wage levels. Felixstowe has also experienced ongoing strike conditions, and we are working diligently to try to reroute cargo and divert shipments so as to mitigate any delays that may occur.

France: Labor unions in France are also now reporting strike activity after negotiations regarding increased wages failed yesterday. Several fuel depots have been blocked, resulting in fuel shortages and disruptions across several regions of the country. The trade union says it plans to increase strike activity to other sectors beginning next Tuesday, including a strike at Fos Sur Mer port. We will continue to keep you updated on this as news becomes available.

USA: Labor negotiations continue with both rail unions and ILWU longshoremen. The rail labor unions have failed to come to a unanimous vote on Biden’s proposed labor agreement, which is essential for avoiding strike action. As it stands, the unions are in a “status quo” period which prohibits them from striking until Nov. 19th. ILWU negotiations also continue talks, although no contracts have been signed as of yet. With minimal port disruption, the situation could be much worse, but, on the other hand, very little progress has been publicized about the status of the negotiations.

We are continuing to keep tabs on the strike activity occurring throughout the globe, and we will provide updates as the situations develop.

Global Disruption Continues

October 5, 2022

Disruption continues around the world as we work through the first week of October. Please find updates to several key areas below: 

Cape Town: As reported yesterday, there is strong potential for South Africa port workers to strike beginning Thursday at midnight. Attached is the latest update on the situation, which unfortunately, signifies no progress as of today. All carriers are reviewing contingency plans and potentially diverting vessels. We are also making sure all import containers are pulled from the terminals and avoiding any delivery of full containers. We are closely monitoring the situation and hope that a last minute resolution will be reached. Should a strike occur, we will be back in a very difficult situation for exports from South Africa.

Louisville: The CSX terminal in Louisville, KY will be out of service for several days due to a broken lift. The terminal is working on obtaining a replacement, but please plan for some delays for cargo movement. 

Liverpool: As we reported last week, the Port of Liverpool will be subject to another week of strike action. The port will close at 6am Oct. 11th and re-open at 6am Oct. 17th. We are doing what we can to work around the strike action by managing bookings and creating contingency plans. Please stay tuned for further developments. 

Latest Logistics Updates 

October 4, 2022

If you are at Cape Wine this week, representatives from WSSA and Albatrans would be happy to meet with you. Feel free to reach out to schedule a time to chat. This week has also brought about new logistics updates which we have summarized below: 

South Africa: Rail and port workers at South Africa’s major logistics operator have announced a strike over wage disputes beginning this Thursday at midnight. Two major unions are involved in the strike, which could impact the transport of essential cargo. As we have seen in other parts of the world, the South Africa unions are pushing for pay increases that at least match inflation percentages, and will continue to push until they reach a satisfactory agreement. The strike length remains indefinite, but mediation talks are planned to begin October 12th. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates.

California: WSSA has been consistent on pushing the FMC to crack down on extended dwell time fees. Last Friday, the Governor of California signed AB2406 into law which “prohibits an intermodal marine container provider or terminal operator from imposing extended dwell charges on a motor carrier, beneficial cargo owner, or other intermediary relative to transactions involving cargo shipped by intermodal transport.” This is a step in the right direction and a positive development for the industry. Click here to read the full AB2406 law.

Rail Strike Update - Cooling Off Period

September 16, 2022

As released yesterday, the unions and management reached a tentative deal to avoid the rail strike today. The strike was prevented because of an agreement to have a two-week “cooling off” period. Although it is unclear when this cooling off period will end, it will be at least two weeks but could be several weeks. We will continue to keep you updated as new information becomes available.

Please contact us at with any questions.

Rail Strike Update

September 15, 2022

The labor unions and management reached a tentative deal this morning avoiding the impending railroad strike. President Biden released the below statement following the tentative agreement:

September 15, 2022

Statement by President Joe Biden on Tentative Railway Labor Agreement

The tentative agreement reached tonight is an important win for our economy and the American people.  It is a win for tens of thousands of rail workers who worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure that America’s families and communities got deliveries of what have kept us going during these difficult years. These rail workers will get better pay, improved working conditions, and peace of mind around their health care costs: all hard-earned. The agreement is also a victory for railway companies who will be able to retain and recruit more workers for an industry that will continue to be part of the backbone of the American economy for decades to come. 
I thank the unions and rail companies for negotiating in good faith and reaching a tentative agreement that will keep our critical rail system working and avoid disruption of our economy.  
I am grateful for the hard work that Secretaries Walsh, Buttigieg, and Vilsack, and NEC Director Deese put into reaching this tentative agreement.  I especially want to thank Secretary Walsh for his tireless, around-the-clock efforts that delivered a win for the hard working people of the US rail industry: as a result, we will keep Americans on the job in all the industries in this country that are touched by this vital industry. 
For the American people, the hard work done to reach this tentative agreement means that our economy can avert the significant damage any shutdown would have brought. With unemployment still near record lows and signs of progress in lowering costs, tonight’s agreement allows us to continue to fight for long term economic growth that finally works for working families.

We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available. Should you have any questions please contact us at


Rail Strike Update

September 14, 2022

As the possibility of a US rail strike looms ever closer, the country is bracing for the potentially overwhelming economic impact.

This morning railroad and union negotiators met in Washington DC to continue negotiations and hopefully come to an agreement. Earlier this week, eight of the twelve rail labor unions reached tentative agreements, but two of the largest remain at the negotiation table. 

With the cooling off period expiring at 12:01am September 16th, the pressure is on, and strike action is likely. In preparation, many rail companies have already started diverting freight or refusing to accept certain commodities so they are not left unattended on the rail during the potential work stoppage. Today, Norfolk Southern stopped receiving exports and BNSF ceased the movement of refrigerated units to inland facilities. Tomorrow CN will cease the receiving of exports. The White House is working with other modes of transportation to try to keep goods moving in case of a shutdown, but there are still many goods that rely on rail transportation for delivery. 

We will continue to keep you informed of this issue and provide updates as they become available. 


Supply Chain & Logistics Update

September 13, 2022

As General Stephen Lyons said in yesterday’s NY/NJ Port Industry Day, “We are now in a recovery period” in the supply chain. “In the near term it is all about tackling congestion at terminals.” We are all in agreement on this, and it’s not just terminals at US ports that are suffering from congestion, but many others around the globe. We will continue to work on our members’ behalf to keep you informed of the top issues impacting supply chain, and fight for your interests as we work through this global supply chain crisis. Below is a brief on the latest logistics issues and hot spots around the world.

USA Rail Strike: The deadline of the “cooling off period” enacted by the Presidential Emergency Board compromise is approaching, and time is running out for unions and railroads to reach an agreement on negotiations. Many railroads have reached tentative agreements, but two of the major ones are still negotiating. As the cooling off period ends at 12:01am September 16th, time is of the essence to find a solution. Currently, a railroad strike looks likely with over 60,000 rail workers preparing to go on strike as soon as this Friday. In preparation of the strike, many railroads have stopped accepting shipments of hazardous or security-sensitive cargo to ensure it is not abandoned on the rail should a work stoppage occur. Additionally, railroads may stop accepting intermodal cargo and temperature controlled cargo is no longer being accepted by most railroads as of midnight Wednesday due to potential inability to monitor and refuel to keep reefers running. The situation is very fluid right now, and we expect further announcements today. We, of course, will update as we get news.

In a market that is already feeling the pressure of congestion and delays, a rail strike will only increase issues with congestion and make transportation of cargo to and from ports more difficult. We will continue to monitor this issue and provide updates.

UK Strikes: The Port of Liverpool has announced that services will be suspended next Monday, September 19th, as an act of respect to the late Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral service, which will take place in London. Airspace restrictions will also be in place across London due to the funeral. Additionally, the union workers at the Port of Liverpool rejected the port’s most recent pay offer and will begin strike action Monday, September 19th through October 3rd. Port Directors and union officials will continue to work together to find a solution during this time, but please plan for delays for cargo departing the area.

A similar situation is taking place at the Port of Felixstowe – the UK’s busiest container port – in that union workers have not accepted the port’s payment offer. Union workers maintain that the pay rise is still short of the inflation rate, and thus will not agree to the offer. Furthermore, they are planning a walkout from September 27th to October 5th. Both parties will continue to work on a solution, but, as with Liverpool, please plan for extended delays and potentially cost increases for any cargo departing the UK.

Germany Trucker Shortage: Germany continues to battle with a shortage of truckers, making it difficult to deliver cargo to/from the ports. Currently, demand for cargo transport far exceeds the number of truck drivers on the road, creating backlogs and delays in getting cargo to port. Additionally, with low water levels on the Rhine, alternative transportation by barge is also limited. If you have cargo coming out of Germany, please increase your lead time and plan for potential cost increases for cargo pickups.

MSC Changes to Flexis: MSC has announced recent changes to their Flexi Tank requirements, which all shippers must adhere to going forward. Below are the new requirements, effective immediately:

Effective immediately, MSC will require clients to provide the information below prior to the confirmation of Flexi tanks. Failure to inform when flexitanks are used at the time of booking may result in additional expenses, including but not limited to storage, demurrage, and re-handling of containers, on shippers’ account.

  1. Name of the FLX manufacturer, the exact FLX type and a copy of the COA Flexitank certificate of compliance.
  2. Cargo description and a valid Safety Data Sheet of the substance to be shipped.
  3. Cargo weight, VGM and ullage declaration. The FLX max allowed volume is 24,000 liters or max mass of 24,000 kilograms, whatever comes first.
  4. No hazardous cargo is allowed in flexitanks.

If you have any questions about these new regulations, feel free to reach out or contact your freight forwarder for clarification.

Weekend Free Time Update

September 1, 2022

Two major ports - New York and Long Beach - have announced that starting in September there will be no more free time on weekends. 

The Port of New York's Maher Terminal will update its free time tariff as of September 23, 2022. With this update, weekend days will count for Demurrage Free time when the terminal opens their gates for receiving and delivery.  

On the West Coast, the Port of Long beach will update its free time tariff effective September 8, 2022. With this update, weekend days will count for Demurrage Free time when Port of Long Beach terminals open their gates for receiving and delivery. 

Please plan ahead for any shipments coming in to either the East Coast or West Coast after the effective dates of the free time changes. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns. 

Strike at Felixstowe

August 22, 2022

Yesterday over 2,000 dockworkers at the Port of Felixstowe began an eight hour work stoppage, ceasing the flow of cargo in and out of the port - the largest in the UK for import and export cargo. The port had been steadily working through the congestion brought on by COVID and had been making headway, only to be set back by this protest action. 

Felixstowe is not the only place where workers are staging protest action. The port of Liverpool is seeing workers strike along with London subway workers, national rail operators and airport/airline employees. Almost all groups are citing frustrations with rising inflation costs eroding salaries, a familiar grievance for many people around the globe as we continue battling the global supply chain crisis.  

The work stoppages and strike action will have an impact on cargo flow in the coming days and weeks, so please plan ahead if you have goods flowing through the Port of Felixstowe. We will continue to keep you updated on this situation as news becomes available. 

ILWU & Rail Labor Negotiations Update

August 19, 2022

As we enter the third week of August, negotiations between ILWU longshoremen and West Coast marine terminals continue without disruption. Aside from the July 26th update that a tentative agreement was reached regarding Health Benefits, not much has surfaced to indicate the negotiation status. However, we have seen progress from the rail labor negotiations, which have moved to the next step. 

The required Presidential Emergency Board recommendation of the terms for the new rail labor contract has been issued. The recommendation suggests a compromise between the various rail unions’ request for 31.3% wage increase and the railroads’ offer of 17%. The compromise being a 24% wage increase over five years. 

Now that the recommendation has been issued, a "cooling off" period begins, which prohibits a lockout or strike until September 16. The hope is for the two sides to continue negotiating to reach a final agreement.  

We will continue to keep you informed of the progress of both labor negotiations as news becomes available.

FMC Takes a Stand on East Coast Empty Container Return Issue

August 9, 2022

WSSA and some of our members recently toured two of the terminals in the NY/NJ Port and witnessed the extreme congestion and pile up of empty containers. The terminal operators confirmed that they literally have zero space for more empty containers and that they cannot work the incoming vessels if they take more containers into the terminal. They need the ocean carriers to evacuate both full and empty containers to make space. FMC Chairman Daniel Maffei was quoted last week following a visit to Port NY/NJ:

  “When ocean carriers continue to bring thousands of containers per month to a port and only pick up a fraction of that number, it creates an untenable situation for terminals, importers and exporters, trucking companies, and the port itself. The Commission has already been investigating reports of carriers charging per diem container charges even when the shipper or trucker cannot possibly return the container due to terminal congestion. I will ask that this investigation be broadened and intensified to cover instances where shippers and truckers are being forced to store containers or move them without proper compensation."

And we now have a statement from Commissioner Bentzel, the opening line of which we have provided here:

"I want to agree and associate myself with the statement made by Chairman Maffei in the aftermath of his visit to the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey, and his concerns on the mounting challenge of returning empty containers to the marine terminals servicing the port."

Alison Leavitt, Managing Director of WSSA, is currently attending a meeting of the National Shippers Advisory Council and this topic will be further addressed by the top shippers in the United States who continue to work on recommendations for practical solutions to the problems plaguing the supply chain. If the FMC solicits comments on the East Coast Congestion issue, we will supply all of you with the information as your comments will make a difference. Stay tuned!

Global Logistics Update

June 8, 2022

Happy summer! We hope everyone in the USA enjoyed a much needed long weekend over the 4th of July holiday. As we enter Q3, the good news is that we do not have a strike on the USA west coast, and we are seeing more stability in the logistics market in terms of rates and capacity. Vessels are still sailing at full capacity in most beverage alcohol trade lanes, but the schedule disruption is not as bad as it was 3 months ago. We are seeing port omissions in the most congested ports, with carriers choosing to skip NY or Oakland to keep schedule integrity on their strings. However, the situation is better overall and we hope to see this continue over the next months and into Q4. Below is the latest update on key issues around the world:

Italy:  Effective July 1, 2022, there is a congestion surcharge of approximately 150 euro for carrier and merchant haulage for containers moving into La Spezia port. This applies only to truck moves; rail moves are exempt. Rail remains congested in Italy, leading to much of the cargo moving to the port via truck.

Germany: Fortunately, strike action has not been ongoing, but container handling at CTA terminal in Hamburg is extremely restricted due to a defective crane. Repairs will be taking place through July 11 creating a backlog in the port. 

Ireland: There is a change in the port of Cork as the feeder vessel operators are moving from the city terminal at Tivoli to Ringaskiddy—approximately 20 km further to haul cargo. The Irish hauliers are adding additional charges for the drayage to Ringaskiddy so if you ship from Cork, plan on an increase in your trucking charges.

New Zealand: Equipment is becoming sporadically scarce on the South Island and in Auckland port area. 20’ equipment is currently the most problematic and we expect challenges in the upcoming weeks with equipment availability. Please send us forecasts to plan for bookings. 

Chile: Winter weather conditions create delays with road closures from Argentina, including cut and run situations at the ports. Plan for extra time for potential delays in getting cargo from Argentina to the port during the next months.  

MSC Boston Express:  MSC launched multiple new services on the transatlantic in the last year.  There are rumors that some are temporary, including the Boston Express service. As of now, this service is continuing and we will keep you updated should we receive further information from MSC.

Mediterranean/USA West Coast service:  MSC remains the only carrier offering all water service to the US West Coast from Med port. For the month of July, it is reported that there will be no vessel call in the port of Seattle, thus booking via Oakland or Vancouver can be considered.  Alternative services are available via rail from the US East Coast as well as transloading services from other ports. Please let us know if you need further information.

NY/NJ container returns:  Truckers continue to have issues returning empty containers to the terminals. When this occurs, fees accrue for the trucker to bring the container back to their yard, store the container, and of course, additional chassis and per diem charges accrue. Please be aware of this situation. We will see how OSRA22 rules will affect how these charges are levied. For now, the importer must pay the fees despite the fact the situation is not in their control—just a factor in the overall import costs due to the ongoing congestion. 

USA West Coast/ILWU contract: So far so good as the ILWU workers continue without interruption or slowdowns despite the expiration of the contract. Contract talks continue behind closed doors. We will keep you updated with any news.

California legislation (CA AB5):  The Supreme Court refused to hear this case thus making AB5 the law, effective immediately. This legislation will basically make all independent contract truckers considered as company employees if contracted by a trucking company. This situation is quite complicated right now but the expectation is that there will be higher costs and potentially fewer truckers. This comes on top of the upcoming enforcement of the CARB legislation, prohibiting use of older truck engines, potentially reducing the amount of available trucks in California by 28%. We will keep you posted on the impact.

CBMA/Craft Beverage Modernization Act: We will continue to send updates on the upcoming change in process on CBMA filings for importers effective January 1, 2023. Should anyone have any questions, please reach out to us.

TTB Proposal to eliminate standards of fill: The proposal was made in May 2022 and the public comment period is open until July 25, 2022. Should anyone want to provide specific input to oppose or support the proposal, let us know and we can provide the feedback to TTB. If you need more information on this topic, let us know and we will send it along.

Should you have any question or like additional information on the above please contact us.


ILWU & PMA Issue Joint Statement

June 14, 2022

The ILWU and PMA have issued a joint statement today, providing a much-anticipated update to their negotiation process.

Last Friday the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) met with President Joe Biden aboard the Battleship U.S.S. Iowa in San Pedro, California. The parties discussed several issues with the President, including supply chain congestion and their shared commitment to reach a collective bargaining agreement that is fair to both parties. The current agreement expires on July 1, 2022.

Both the PMA and the ILWU agree that they are unlikely to reach an agreement before the expiration of the current contract, which is not entirely unexpected. Cargo operations will continue beyond the expiration date. Both parties indicated that neither one of them is preparing for a strike or lockout, and they remain focused and committed to reaching an agreement. 

We will continue to monitor this situation closely, and provide updates as they become available. 

OSRA 22 Passed by the House

June 14, 2022

The House passed OSRA 22 yesterday evening, 369-42, and the President will sign the bill on Thursday afternoon. Per our friends at the AgTC, every sponsor's statements indicated they were motivated to gain improved ocean carrier service for US agriculture exporters. While this is not the final victory, it is the next step.

OSRA 22 is a piece of legislation aimed to address various ocean carrier practices that are injurious to US exporters, importers, truckers and other parties involved in the supply chain. While the language of the bill is heavily weighted toward US exporters, it also contains provisions that can be beneficial for all shippers. For our importer members, one of the most important items is the provision requiring ocean carriers or marine terminal operators to audit and certify demurrage and detention charges and comply with FMC guidelines for reasonable behavior. We know many of you have suffered with substantial demurrage and detention bills in the last year, and adding an enforcement capability for the FMC to issue penalties could be a significant change leading to adjustments that should benefit all shippers.

We will keep you informed of any developments to this piece of legislation going forward.

Logistics & Supply Chain Update

June 13, 2022

It has been a busy few months at WSSA, and as we settle back into attending trade shows and live meetings, we will continue to bring you the latest updates on the logistics and supply chain disruptions.

Germany: Ports and steamship lines in Germany are bracing for the potential of strike action during wage negotiations between employers and dockworkers that failed to reach a resolution this past weekend. Last Thursday, workers showed their displeasure with the negotiation process by holding a warning strike. Negotiations are still ongoing, and further strike action is not certain, but is a possibility. Please note that this could cause further delays in cargo processing, and terminal operations could be severely restricted. This would impact not only redelivery of the containers at ports, but also the rail and barge operations.

OSRA 22: Last week President Biden posted a video on twitter talking with major importer and exporter CEOs. In the video, the President indicated that he has urged Congress to pass OSRA22 and that he looks forward to signing the legislation into law in the near future. We will certainly continue to follow this situation closely.

ILWU Negotiations: Regarding ILWU labor negotiations, limited updates are available as to their development. Negotiations began May 12th and the current contract expires July 1st. Since so much has changed since 2019 when the last negotiations took place, it is expected that discussions could be more complex this time around. On May 10, the ILWU requested a suspension of talks with the PMA for a 10-day period. The parties returned to the negotiating table on June 1st. While there is a general “media blackout” on the talks, we know the main points for discussion are compensation and port automation, against a backdrop of evolving Covid variants and extreme demand for throughput. The JOC reported on Friday that an earlier gate opening time of 6am is also on the table. Business groups are demanding intervention to insure smooth operations at the ports with multiple requests sent to the White House. We will continue to monitor this progress, and provide updates when available.

Port Dwell Fee: In recurring news, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles will once again delay consideration of the “Container Dwell Fee” for another week, this time until June 17. Since the program was announced on Oct. 25, the two ports have seen a combined decline of 38% in aging cargo on the docks. The executive directors of both ports will reassess fee implementation after monitoring data over the next week.

Rail Metering: Norfolk Southern (NS) has started limiting intermodal volumes shipping through the ports of NY/NJ and the Ports of Virginia going to Columbus, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and St. Louis due to a shortage of chassis. Exports from Memphis are also being limited to 75 containers per day, down from a previous cap of 100. Norfolk Southern indicates that metering is necessary to alleviate congestion and is part of a program to keep the network as fluid as possible. Other railroads are also struggling with congestion and using a variety of tactics, some using off-site lots, and others, metering.

Logistics Hot Spots April 1st

April 1, 2022

As usual, there is a lot going on in the global supply chain and this week we focus on legislative issues as well as logistics issues.

OSRA22: The US Senate voted in favor of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act this week. Ocean Shipping Reform legislation was first introduced in the House of Representatives under OSRA21, and a slightly different version of the bill has now passed the Senate. OSRA22 includes provisions intended to ensure reasonable and fair practices by ocean carriers, including obligations to follow the Federal Maritime Commission’s guidelines on Demurrage and Detention, and provides the FMC with greater enforcement powers. The next step is for the bill to move into conference committee where both the House and Senate can agree to a final version that would go to the President for signature. Should anyone like to receive more details on this legislation, please let us know.

ILWU Negotiations: The negotiations between the International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union and the PMA (Pacific Maritime Association) are scheduled to commence on May 12. The ILWU represents approximately 15,000 workers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports and they are paid by the PMA based on contractual terms. The current contract expires on July 1, 2022. The fear of the potential disruption should a strike or work slow down occur has driven thousands of parties and dozens of associations to reach out to their elected officials and directly to the President to encourage the parties to reach a speedy resolution with no disruption in workflow. 

US West Coast Rail Congestion: An article in the Journal of Commerce reports, “West Coast port and terminal sources say several factors in recent weeks have converged to create the current conditions that the terminals say could get worse before they get better — IPI bookings are increasing rapidly after the Lunar New Year lull, railroads are not taking railcars out of storage quickly enough to meet fresh demand, and rail ramps in the interior US are becoming congested again” Bill Mongelluzzo. "Lack of Equipment spurs rail crisis at West Coast ports."  Journal of Commerce. March 31, 2022.

While the congestion is most severe in the LA/LB terminals, Oakland and Seattle/Tacoma are also getting backed up. The railroads have not started metering railcar movement, but this could be utilized should the inland points get completely jammed.

Spain: We have been reporting on the trucking situation in Spain for the last week. There were talks earlier in the week, and the situation dramatically improved in the areas of Barcelona and Valencia as of March 30. However, the situation in Algeciras, Cadiz, and Bilbao remains in critical status with almost complete closure of the ports due to trucker action. On Monday, the leaders of the strike will be meeting in Madrid to decide on next steps and actions, creating further uncertainty as to what will happen in the upcoming days. 

Boston Port Update: MSC has updated the plans for Boston service from Europe, adding an additional string called the “Boston Express” connecting the ports of Antwerp and Le Havre directly to Boston with the first vessel deployment expected in mid-April. This is great news for the Boston area importers and exporters. Should you want additional information, please let us know.

Supply Chain Global Update

March 28, 2022

Spain: Last Friday, an agreement was reached between the government and the truckers’ employers; however, despite the explanations given by the ministry of transport to the representatives of the independent truckers during their meeting, the conflict on land transportation in Spain continues… after their meeting, it was determined the agreement does not provide immediate solutions to transport contracts, and a new meeting has been requested. Today some transport companies have started their operations, but the independent truckers remain on strike and holding demonstrations. The main problem now is that terminals are severely congested by import containers discharged from vessels during the last two weeks, and, as a contingency measure, main port terminals are only admitting trucks for import container retrieval. This contingency situation will last for as long as is necessary until space has been freed at each terminal. We will keep following the last news on this conflict and will keep you posted of any developments.

LA/LB Clean Truck Fund: The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have each adopted spending plans for the Clean Truck Fund (CTF) rate program, a key component of the ports’ Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP). The plans target the development and deployment of zero-emission (ZE) trucks and infrastructure, the ultimate goal being that the ports will be serviced by a 100% zero-emission drayage truck fleet by 2035. Starting April 1st the ports will begin collecting a rate of $10 per twenty-foot equivalent unit on loaded drayage trucks entering or leaving their container terminals. Exemptions to the CTF rate will be provided for containers hauled by zero-emission trucks. Several incentive programs will also be put into place to incentivize trucking companies to adopt zero emission fleets. The ports will host stakeholder engagement activities in the coming months to answer questions and help truckers gain access to these programs. We will continue to monitor the progress and update as needed.

Shanghai: China’s biggest COVID-19 lockdown in two years started today and will lock down in two stages over nine days for mass testing of the population of 25 million people. The eastern side of the city will be first, with restrictions from Monday, March 28th to April 1st, followed by the western side of the city from April 1-5. The Port of Shanghai has announced that it will maintain normal operations, but it is likely the landside operations will be disrupted. Truck drivers will have to provide a negative COVID test within 48 hours, and certain roadways and access to the city of Shanghai will be restricted, as well as closures of factories and workers forced to stay home. Shenzhen and Yantian ports have recently suffered from COVID related lockdowns that created significant disruptions and we expect the Shanghai event to create further havoc in the supply chain mess. 

ILWU/Labor Relations: A group of Senators have sent a letter to President Biden requesting that the administration intervene where possible to make sure the ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) and the PMA (Pacific Maritime Association—the ocean carriers and terminal owners) complete the upcoming negotiation for the June 30th contract expiration without disruption to the supply chain.  There is a great deal of concern about this upcoming negotiation, as the ILWU is fully aware of the massive profits reported by the ocean carriers. Should a work slowdown or strike occur,  the results could be devastating to an already strained supply chain. We will monitor this situation closely in the coming months.

Oceania Emergency Operational Surcharge: Announcements have been published for an April 10th surcharge due to the continued operational constraints in the ports of Australia and New Zealand and severe carrier network disruption.   This comes on top of significant rate increases levied from this area, bringing rates from Oceania considerably higher from many carriers.

Russian Sanctions: An Executive Order was issued on March 11 by the White House restricting only goods from the Russian Federation (not Belarus) and it targets “Russian Federation origin.” This means goods produced, manufactured, extracted, or processed there. You can find the complete Executive Order here for reference. Below are notes on what the prohibition means for Russian imports.

  • CBP is putting a hold on all goods covered by the prohibition. If goods are being held, CBP will release the goods under the OFAC general license 17 upon receipt of proof that the shipment was under contract prior to March 11, 2022, as long as goods have been received prior to March 25.
  • Importers can avoid the hold by submitting that proof to CBP ahead of time. Contact the port where arriving, submit proof of contract and submit via fax, in person or even via DIS (other doc) when filing entry. 
  • All of the goods covered by the restriction will be refused entry beginning on March 25 (even if they were under contract in time). Suggested that people should look at diverting the cargo elsewhere if it is not going to be here in time.
  • Here is the list of HTS codes covering the prohibited goods

CP Strike Resolved, Spain Disruption Continues

March 22, 2022

Canada: Canadian Pacific (CP) trains were stopped in their tracks for two days as thousands of workers joined picket lines after negotiations between the union and the company broke down last Sunday. The government in Ottawa has been under intense pressure to intervene. Fortunately, operations are scheduled to restart today after an agreement was reached with Teamsters Canada Rail Conference for further arbitration with conductors and engineers. 

Spain: The situation in Spain continues to worsen despite an announcement by the Spanish government to earmark 500 million Euro for aid to the trucking industry. The strikers are continuing their protests, stating that the offer is not concrete and they are increasing the demonstrations and blockade of roads and logistics nodes, including the port terminals and container depots. Our reports from Albatrans Spain indicate the situation is causing almost 100% stoppage of container transport into the ports and many industries are about to close their activities. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be a short term problem. We will continue to provide daily updates, and please let us know if you need any further details.

Weekly Logistics Update

March 21, 2022

With the rise of fuel costs and the continued lack of equipment at ports around the globe, the logistics crisis is far from over. We have your weekly review of areas that are being hit especially hard: 

MSC Boston Update: As mentioned in a past update, MSC has adjusted its service portfolio for the port of Boston. There will no longer be direct service from North Europe, and any Boston-bound cargo will be directed to the INDRUS 2 service and channeled Mediterranean ports, primarily Sines. The new service will start with a sailing on April 4th. We are still getting more information on expected feeder vessel schedules and will send further updates when available.

Spain: Strike activity continues in Spain and the impact levels vary. Some areas such as Galicia, Andalucia, Madrid and Valencia are suffering from a high rate of impact, while in Barcelona we have still been able to cover some services. However, incidents on the roads between the strikers and the active trucks are still occurring. The Government and the National Trucking Companies Association have reopened their negotiations, but it is uncertain whether the potential agreements reached will help end the strike. In short, we cannot expect the conflict to be resolved soon. Furthermore, last week the ports of Valencia and Barcelona stopped their vessel operations due to bad weather conditions, which extended through the weekend. This delayed many vessels and even caused some carriers to omit these ports to try to stay on schedule. 

Europe/South America/Oceania: All areas remain congested for cargo traveling to the USA and into Europe from South America and Oceania. The US West Coast remains the most challenging area, but equipment is scarce in many areas, and all vessels remain at full capacity. No relief in sight as of yet!

Fuel Increases: We are seeing increases in fuel in the USA and Europe, affecting both trucking and intermodal costs as well as the monthly BAF figure on ocean freight. Please plan for higher fuel levels in the months to come.

Evergreen Ship Stuck in Chesapeake Bay:  Once again, and one year later,  an Evergreen vessel has run aground, this time in the Chesapeake Bay. The “Ever Forward” ran aground while exiting the harbor, but fortunately, is not blocking any ship traffic or disrupting trade. However, it is severely stuck in the mud and engineers have been working on how to get it unstuck for the last few days. It is expected to take another ten days to get the ship moving.  

Logistics Conflicts in the Mediterranean

March 15, 2022

Yesterday in Spain, a group of independent truckers announced an indefinite strike, citing that their recently-negotiated agreements with the Spanish government have not been satisfied. On Monday, the impact was significant in the south and north of Spain, but the center and east of the country worked relatively without issue, although there were some pickets that blocked some terminals and depots. Today, the situation is getting worse, and the impact is being felt throughout the country. Picket lines are more intensely noticeable, and there have even been some cases of violent interactions with the truckers who are still working. In one circumstance, our colleagues in Spain told us that the strikers had thrown stones at the windows of the working trucks and puncturing their wheels in the depots and at the entrance to port. This has caused some working truckers to withdraw their services in certain areas, which, not surprisingly, is not helping the congestion situation in the region.  

So far, the impact seems to only be affecting Spain ports, but reports from our Italian office say there have been some delays felt in the south of Italy. Major ports such as Genova, La Spezia and Livorno have not been affected at the moment. However, the lack of equipment situation is still very bad for all ports in Italy and all steamship lines. As mentioned in previous updates, major delays can be expected for cargo coming out of Italy, and now extra time must be allocated for cargo departing Spain as well.

We will continue to keep you updated on this situation.

Logistics Conflicts on the Rise

March 11, 2022

It is hard to imagine a time when there is more attention on ocean shipping, with the President of the United States addressing the practices of ocean carriers in his State of the Union address, new legislation being introduced to address anti-trust immunity by ocean carriers, and Ocean Shipping Reform being addressed by both the House and Senate. For beverage alcohol, we also saw action via a TTB circular on payment practices for consignment sales that may lead to investigations and penalties. Not to mention, we are in the midst of a war that is a human tragedy and also leaving hundreds of containers “stranded” in various places, and sanctions that are pushing fuel prices up. On the USWC, the congestion remains high and the potential for a work slowdown or strike during the upcoming ILWU contract negotiations is driving cargo to East Coast and Gulf ports.

For the logistics outlook, there is only bad news to report.

Fuel Prices: Fuel surcharges are increasing or being added in Europe and the USA by truckers and intermodal providers, and we expect this will also impact ocean carrier fuel pricing and affect all global areas.  The percentages vary based on the region but range from an uptick of 10% to over 30%.

Labor/Strike Potential: In Spain, we have been advised that some associations of independent truckers have invoked an indefinite strike starting next Monday 14th.  The truckers argue that negotiations reached in 2021 and effective in March do not satisfy their needs. The major transportation companies are not supporting this strike, and we will be monitoring the impact. In Italy, we are seeing a similar report, with a quote from one of the truckers associations sent to the Italian Government translated as follows: “We inform you that, due to the constant and exponential increases of the fuel cost that is penalising the trucking companies, we decided to suspend the trucking service for “force majeure cause” as of Monday march 14, 2022.” If these strikes come to fruition, it will cause further disruption in an already strained system. We will see what happens on Monday and will send further updates.

MSC Boston Service: We have received information on a change in routing on the MSC service to Boston, with a complete adjustment of the service and cancellation of the direct service from North Europe. We have sent information directly to many Boston area shippers but please let us know if you would like details. 

Congestion, Delays and Port Omissions: We are continuing to see unprecedented changes in routings, port omissions, carrier booking stoppages and cancelled bookings. Oceania to the US West Coast has been adversely affected, Italy is extremely backed up, and South America is facing severe backlogs. Carriers are changing routings to try to manage their networks, often adding transhipment ports. One example is South Africa, with a “normal” routing to the USWC usually coming in at a 50 day transit time, but what is now a four transhipment routing and 120 day transit. The transit times are simply out of control.

War Risk Insurance: We have seen many questions on war risk insurance coverage due to the situation in Russia and the Ukraine. War risk endorsements generally cover “sudden” acts of war and not in a situation where the intent and build up was known for weeks in advance.  The Commonwealth of Independent States, of which Russia and Ukraine are members, is often exempted from coverage or requires specific endorsements. Thus, if you have cargo that is caught in this conflict, you will need to review with your provider. In general, because of these present circumstances, no matter what type of coverage you have, every shipper should be taking precautions and making decisions as if they are uninsured, doing everything in their power to mitigate losses and risk.

Stay tuned for an upcoming supply chain webinar where we can address your specific concerns.

Logistics Crisis Continues

March 4, 2022

We are just back from attending the TransPacific Maritime Conference, the largest logistics event in the United States covering all topics surrounding global economics and supply chain issues. After COVID cancellations, TPM22 drew over 2700 attendees from around the globe and featured speakers such as Dr. Narimen Behravesh, Economist for IHS Markit; John Butler, President and CEO of the World Shipping Council; Daniel Maffei, Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission; Jeremy Nixon, CEO of Ocean Network Express/ONE; and Vincent Clerc, CEO, Ocean and Logistics, Maersk, and many many other industry experts and analysts. Bottom line, the news is not good for any speedy recovery of supply chain normalcy. The only reliable prediction is continued unreliability.

In this report, we will continue to highlight some of the hardest hit areas—and right now, wine and spirits origins are getting hit hard.

Europe/UK: The schedule disruption is at the worst level that we have seen yet. As an example, one of the top carriers, CMA-CGM budgeted for seven blank (cancelled) sailings for a transatlantic string in 2022. They have already had six. Every carrier is blanking or omitting ports as the only method to manage their networks. With delays in virtually every port in Europe and in the USA, the networks are in a complete breakdown. Cargo is sitting at terminals and getting rolled due to either port omission, backlog, or weight issue on the vessel. Equipment is practically non-existent in many areas, and carriers are putting a full stop on bookings to try to clear out the backlog. Italy is one of the worst hit areas; and the backlog of cargo waiting to load is steadily growing. On one service from Italy, several sailings are cancelled and bookings are not available until mid-May (yes, you are reading that correctly, mid-MAY). If you have any specific questions on the situation or root cause, we would be happy to provide further detail; but, please be prepared for even longer lead times in the next weeks.

South America: We are again seeing a backlog build from Chile to the US East Coast due to a variety of factors, including COVID outbreaks on vessels. Space will be very tight throughout March for the US East Coast, and schedule delays will remain problematic for US West Coast, primarily due to the continued congestion issues in LA/LB and Oakland. We are expecting the situation to improve for April, but we will keep you posted.

Oceania: Australia and NZ are both extremely tight in capacity for both USA and European-bound cargo, but cargo is flowing. Auckland port is again under restrictions, and we are keeping a close eye on the situation as the congestion can ramp up quickly as it did in 2021. Analysts in NZ are predicting heavy delays in the coming months, so again, be prepared for longer lead times and long transit times due to issues in transhipment ports.

USA West Coast Labor: With the ILWU contract coming up for negotiation, many importers are shifting cargo to the US East Coast to avoid potential disruption should a work slowdown or strike occur. This shift will create greater congestion in US East Coast ports and put pressure on the transloading and rail services in the next months.  

Russia/Ukraine Impact: The situation has led to cancellations of almost all vessel calls and thousands of inbound containers headed to Russia that could be discharged in European ports, adding to the overall congestion in the ports. The cancellations could also add some needed space in the Europe strings, but equipment will either be stuck in Russia that cannot be exported or stuck in Europe, unable to be delivered. We will understand the impact in more detail as the situation unfolds and will keep you posted.

The Good News: While it is difficult to find good news in the global supply chain, all stakeholders are working on solutions, whether it is pushing for data and visibility improvements, enforcing the FMC’s guidelines on demurrage and detention, or creating ‘pop up’ storage yards outside of port areas to deal with overflow of containers. At the TPM22 conference, there was a lot of discussion on 24/7 operations as a necessary tool to ease port congestion and throughput, as well as lowering the age for truck drivers to 18, and increasing weight limits. The White House attention on the supply chain has never been as strong as it is today, and while it will take the efforts of all stakeholders to make improvements, pressure from the President will help speed up progress.  

Logistics Challenges Continue Due to Russia-Ukraine Conflict

March 2, 2022

As the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues, our industry is keeping close tabs on the logistics situation, especially in light of the various government sanctions going into effect.

For example, as of yesterday, ocean carrier MSC announced that bookings to/from Russia have been temporarily halted which includes access to all areas around the Black Sea, Baltics, and Far East Russia. Bookings for essential goods such as food, humanitarian items and medical equipment are the only exceptions to this action. It is expected that other carriers will follow suit. This announcement comes after the US, European Union and UK blocked Russian banks from using the SWIFT international payment system. Additionally, on Monday, the US Department of the Treasury barred Americans from doing business with Russia’s central bank, immobilizing assets of this bank that are being held in the US or by US people. As a result, Russia’s economy is now experiencing an extreme downturn, with the value of the ruble dropping to less than one cent per dollar.

For those of you with regular shipments to/from Russia, please review all current conditions, keeping in mind that transportation to/from the region is becoming extremely limited.

We will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates.

Ukraine Conflict Creates More Logistics Concerns

February 25, 2022

Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine has become the primary news focus across the globe. While the full impact of the Ukraine conflict on the Intereuropean and international logistics remains to be seen, we’ve received some valuable feedback from our colleagues in Europe in the past days. As far as shipments in general are concerned, so far there has been no major interruption to trucking, rail or feeder vessel services. Rather, the more critical concern is the empty container situation in Eastern Europe. Most carriers are almost out of stock, and some have had to cancel all bookings for the next weeks due to lack of equipment. Another factor is the bunker price, which is expected to explode in the coming weeks and months.

Additionally, prompted by the invasion, Ukranian authorities closed the port of Odessa on Thursday forcing carriers to suspend vessel calls. In an effort to keep all port employees safe, operations at the port have ceased for the time being. Carriers have now begun to divert vessels to call other ports while the situation persists.

Please be aware that shipments within this region will be delayed and increased costs can be expected in the coming weeks. Our hearts go out to all those in Ukraine who are being impacted by Russia’s invasion, and we hope for a swift resolution of this conflict.

US & Europe: Congestion Continues

February 23, 2022

Europe: After a weekend of hurricane-force storms, North European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland and the United Kingdom are beginning the recovery phase from the storms’ impact. The aftermath included severe flooding, damaged rail lines and multiple falling trees causing destruction to buildings and cars. Due to these severe weather conditions the terminal operations in the seaports of Antwerp, Rotterdam, Hamburg and Bremerhaven, as well as the inland terminals, are experiencing heavy delays in the handling of barges, trains and trucks. This situation is not expected to improve in the next days, so please plan for delays if you have cargo coming out of this region.

US: At the end of last week, the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles announced that they will put off consideration of the “Container Dwell Fee” one more week, until Feb. 25. The two San Pedro Bay ports have seen a combined decline of 71% in aging cargo on the docks since the program was announced on Oct. 25. As has been the case, the executive directors of both ports will reassess fee implementation after monitoring data over the next week.

Despite the continued postponement of LA/LB’s “Container Dwell Fee,” US ports continue to see record import volumes, and the issues of congestion and equipment availability continue to be prevalent at all major terminal locations including New York, Norfolk, Charleston, Miami, Houston, Seattle and, of course, Los Angeles/Long Beach. Many ports are citing labor shortages alongside the high import volume as the cause of this congestion. In addition, inland rail service is backed up due to the lack of available chassis for pickups, deliveries and drayage to/from rail terminals. Attached is one steamship line’s weekly report on the US congestion should you have questions about specific terminal locations.

We will continue to keep you updated on the global congestion situation, and please feel free to reach out with any questions.

Logistics Hot Spot Update

February 11, 2022

Canada: Trouble on the border continues with the truck blockade by Canadians protesting COVID-19 restrictions has created a major blockage at the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor, Ontario to Detroit as well as shuttering a crossing in Coutts, Alberta. Prime Minister Trudeau is working vigorously to end the disruption and the White House is directly involved as well. We will keep you posted as the situation develops.

LA/Long Beach: Yet another extension of the container dwell fee has been published today, pushing the potential start date to February 18.   As reported, individual terminals are still imposing dwell fees with varying amounts.

Oakland: While the port of Oakland has instituted dwell fees, the port is currently experiencing severe congestion due to a combination of terminal issues with removal of cranes, and containers being moved into “closed” areas for extended periods of time. Storage charges are being waived for containers in closed areas.

US West Coast port omissions:  The schedule to the US West Coast ports continues to be a mess with omissions from multiple origins including South America, Oceania and Europe, with carriers omitting services to Oakland and/or Seattle on many strings. Should you need to discuss options for re-routing cargo, let us know.

Treasury Report on Competition: The report on competition in the markets for beer, wine, and spirits was published earlier this week. The report details challenges to the growth of small businesses and new entrants into the marketplace and also contains recommendations to better level the playing field for small businesses and new marketplace entrants. Should you want a full copy, please let us know.

Container Dwell Fee & Chile Congestion Update

January 31, 2022

Once again, the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles announced that the considered “Container Dwell Fee” will be held off another week, until Feb. 4.
As we have seen in these past weeks, the two ports have postponed this fee as they have seen a combined decline of 67% in aging cargo on the docks since the program was announced on Oct. 25. The progress will again be assessed during the next week and another determination will be made as to the fee's implementation at that time. 

In South America, the situation at the Chile-Argentina border is still dire, with over 2,000 trucks waiting in line to enter into the country due to increased COVID-19 testing procedures. However, our office in Chile has reported that the truckers who had enacted strike actions due to these restrictions have ceased the actions over the weekend, and there is some hope that the backlog will normalize within the coming days. 

We will continue to keep you informed of these developments, and, has always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns. 

Weekly Logistics Update: Trouble Spots

January 19, 2022

As an initial comment, global schedule delays, rolled bookings, and port omissions continue to be problematic almost everywhere. Carriers are rolling cargo and providing explanations ranging from operational issues, overweight vessels, port omissions, weather, or general schedule disruption. Some of the specific issues are outlined below:

Italy: The port of Genoa continues to suffer with a huge backlog. Genoa is one of the main exit ports for cargo moving to the USA and multiple steamship lines have announced that they will not allow any additional containers to enter the port for the next few weeks. This is creating additional delays for cargo moving to USA from Italy.

UK: The trucking and intermodal congestion in the UK remains high. As an example, the rail service from Scotland to Southampton port is 100% booked for the next 3 weeks and obtaining truck service is extremely difficult. Service to and from the UK and Continental Europe is also extremely congested with COVID infections dramatically reducing the number of drivers available.  

Chile: Over the weekend the border between Argentina and Chile was closed due to personnel from Customs testing positive for COVID-19. The border has since reopened but with staff shortages, there are still many truckers waiting to cross, and thus some cargo has been delayed. Additionally, several vessels have had to quarantine due to crew members testing postive for COVID-19. This also has caused cargo delays and container rollover, and vessels are exploring options to handle the backlog this situation has created. 

Los Angeles/Long Beach:  The dwell fee has again been postponed, this time to January 21st. The ports continue to push the fee stating that they have seen a 55% decline in aging cargo on the docks since the fee was originally announced in October. We will continue to provide updates and information on any further postponements as available. 

Congestion & Delays Continue in 2022

January 7, 2022

Happy New Year to all. 2022 is certainly starting off with the same issues plaguing the supply chain for the last year, and at WSSA, we will continue to send our weekly updates on the congestion hot spots.

Europe and UK/Ireland: Today we have reports from Italy of the stoppage of movement of containers into the port of Genova as of January 10 due to the incredible back log at the port. We have attached the memorandum from the Port of Genova fully explaining the situation. This will create further delays in an already critical export country for the beverage alcohol industry. Should you have any questions on specific routes affected, please feel free to contact us. In the UK, the backlog outside of various ports is incredible. Ports are operating at 120% capacity, and containers are sitting in ports for many weeks waiting to load. There are also reports of containers waiting on chassis outside of ports with no space available at the terminals. With vessel schedules normalizing post holidays, we hope to see this backlog reduced in the next few weeks. The feeder ports are the most affected, such as Grangemouth and Greenock in Scotland.  

Oceania: Vessel space and equipment supplies remain critical in Oceania, and, with COVID spreading in this region, we expect to see further restrictions and potential closures should outbreaks occur. Australia and NZ have operated with extremely strict protocols during the pandemic which has affected cargo flows. Australia is also affected by industrial action and NZ with port disruption in Auckland, and most recently a key carrier dropping the call in Napier. WSSA is well covered with allocation in this region, but schedule delays and long transit times remain problematic.

South America: The delays and port omissions that occurred primarily due to weather in late 2021 are fortunately not continuing, and as the region enters full summer weather, the pass between Mendoza and the Chilean border should run smoothly. We fully expect vessel space to remain extremely tight to the US West Coast and Europe, so plan ahead as much as possible for bookings.  

South Africa: At the moment, South Africa services are running smoothly and fortunately, South Africa is seeing the Omicron variant decline. The Cape Wine Fair is currently on track for October of 2022, and we hope to once again be in South Africa for this key event in the industry.

USA: The ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach have again delayed implementation of the container dwell fees, indicating movement of containers off the terminals continues to meet their velocity expectations. However, individual terminals are imposing fees for excessive dwell time. These terminals include LBCT, ITS, and TTI. Should you want a listing of the fees charged by each terminal, please let us know, and we will send you the notices as each terminal has different time lines and different fees. It is extremely confusing to try to manage the various fees imposed—whether it is truckers charging congestion or waiting time, terminals charging dwell fees, or carriers charging demurrage and detention. Should you ever want WSSA to review charges levied, we are happy to do so, and we will report any egregious issues to the FMC. Truck power remains a huge problem in almost all regions, and the COVID surge is affecting driver supply and warehouse workers, thus dwell time and demurrage issues will continue to be a major issue as we head into the early weeks of 2022.

Upcoming Events: WSSA will be hosting a webinar on risk management during supply chain and pandemic crisis conditions, focusing on the heightened need for cargo insurance. More info to follow!  

Container Dwell Fee Again On Hold

December 28, 2021

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have again announced a postponement of the Container Dwell Fee, this time to January 3, 2022. The fee was previously set to take effect yesterday. However, since the announcement of the fee back in October, officials at the ports state that they have seen a decline of 41 percent of cargo sitting on the docks. This continued progress has spurred the continual postponements of this fee. Again, port officials will monitor the cargo movement throughout the next week and make another assessment as to the fee's implementation date. 

We will continue to keep you informed of these updates, and, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out

Logistics Hot Spots: Year End Congestion Continues

December 17, 2021

The global supply chain crisis remains in the news day after day. Interviews with Port officials, trucking companies, importers and consumers are part of the daily briefings along with the pandemic. These two issues are top priorities for the USA administration. Overseas, the same issues are plaguing virtually all areas with the pandemic continuing to rage and supply chain issues creating constant challenges. We expect to continue to send our weekly updates on logistics hot spots well into 2022.

Europe:  In Italy, there was a trade union strike on the 16th resulting in a complete stoppage at Genoa VTE terminal and backlog of cargo. The strike was originally planned for 2 days, but fortunately was suspended today. However, strong winds are now affecting port operations in Genoa so this terminal will once again have cargo rollings. From Germany, we are seeing delays on movement to the ports due to railroads being completely swamped and the Rhine in a low water situation creating congestion and delays on barge movements. A national trucking strike has been announced in Spain for next Monday through Wednesday, yet to be confirmed but will certainly cause disruption if implemented. The Port of Rotterdam remains incredibly congested and delays on loading cargo received from feeder vessels continue to cause problems.  

UK:  The trucking situation in the UK remains incredibly tight and we are seeing 1-2 week delays in booking pickups. Normal transit times from continental Europe are completely disrupted. As an example, transit from Spain into the UK is normally 4 days and is currently taking as long as 6 weeks. The poor performance is directly linked to the port congestion in various UK ports as cargo is not moving smoothly in and out of the seaports. 

Precarriage/Drayage/Intermodal:  As most of you have seen, all trucking and intermodal rates have increased in the past year. In Europe, we are receiving reports that trucking costs will go up between 5 and 20 percent depending on the region. In the USA, the driver shortage continues with rates skyrocketing due to intense demand, and we expect this trend to continue into 2022. 

USA: The west coast congestion continues to be problematic. With Oakland, Seattle, and LA/LB announcing fees for extended dwell time, importers are facing the prospect of even more costs on top of the high rates and demurrage and detention issues on cargo moving via these ports. Oakland was the latest to announce fees, implemented on December 1, and labeled “extended dwell-time fee”.  The Oakland fee is structured to be levied from the 8th day that a full import container is sitting at the terminal and the fee is $50 per day, increasing to $75 per day from day 13-17, and $100 on days 18-22, topping out at $150 per day on day 23. The port, like LA/LB has reported accelerated movement from the terminal since the announcement of the fee. The LA/LB dwell fee has been postponed multiple times, with the latest start date reported for December 20, the same day as the Oakland fees are commencing. 

On the east coast, we are seeing Savannah reinstated as a port call by various carriers for sailings from Europe during the last week of December. Congestion is still occurring in Savannah but the number of vessels waiting outside the port has dramatically reduced. Other ports on the east coast remain quite fluid, but truck power and rail movement continue to cause issues. 

US Customs: It looks like we will end the year without a vote on reinstating GSP/Generalized System of Preferences. While GSP does not affect a large volume of beverage alcohol, one example is Argentina. Some Argentinian wines are eligible for duty free treatment under GSP provisions and unfortunately importers have had to pay duty on these wines over the past year. Brokers should continue to flag eligible line items for GSP to enable retroactive refunds of duty if and when GSP is reinstated. 

USA-UK talks: Government officials from the UK and US met in Washington DC last week to discuss various issues, including the current tariffs imposed on US beverage alcohol based on the Section 232 steel and aluminum dispute. There was no resolution on this matter and we understand that further negotiations will await discussions on the Northern Ireland Border Protocol. US and UK officials have agreed to meet in early 2022. WSSA continues to work with the “Toasts not Tariffs” coalition and urge leaders to reach an agreement and remove retaliatory tariffs on products unrelated to the dispute, including beverage alcohol.  

Please reach out to WSSA for any clarification or questions on specific regions or regulations. 

Container Dwell Fee at LA/LB Again Postponed

November 23, 2021

Once again officials at the Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach have announced a further postponement of the new Container Dwell Fee, a fee instituted by the two ports as result of coordinated efforts with the Biden-Harris Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force and US DOT to improve the velocity of container movement off the LA/LB terminals. Originally the fee was scheduled to start being billed November 15th, but was postponed to November 22nd due to the positive progress made by the ports.

The fee has been postponed once again to November 29th as officials say continued progress is being made moving containers off marine terminals. As the new date approaches, officials will once again assess the situation and determine if the fee will indeed be implemented or postponed again. 

We will continue to keep you informed of this situation, and we wish everyone a safe and healthy Thanksgiving holiday week. 

BREAKING NEWS: LA/LB Postpone Container Dwell Fee

November 15, 2021

The news we’ve been curious about just came through the pipeline this afternoon as the Ports of LA/LB announced the postponement of the new Container Dwell Fee until November 22nd. Port of LB Executive Director, Mario Cordero, stated, “We’re encouraged by the progress our supply chain partners have made in helping our terminals shed long-dwelling import containers.” Gene Seroka, Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles added, “There’s been significant improvement in clearing import containers from our docks in recent weeks.”

This Container dwell fee, originally announced on October 25th, was a coordinated effort by the Biden-Harris Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, U.S. Department of Transportation, Port of Los Angeles and multiple supply chain stakeholders to push for more movement of stagnant containers at the port. This is in effort to alleviate the congestion and help the flow of the supply chain. Since the initial announcement of the fee, stagnant cargo has decreased by 26%, thus resulting in the postponement of the dwell fee.

Officials will continue to monitor the progress of movement at the ports and reassess the fee once again as the November 22nd date approaches. We will continue to keep you informed of this issue. For more details on this development, attached is the news release from the Port of Long Beach.

Logistics Hot Spots: All Eyes on LA/LB

November 15, 2021

There is a lot to look out for this week around the globe!

USA: We are waiting anxiously to see if the Los Angeles/Long Beach “Container Excess Dwell Fee” will start to be invoiced today. The new fee was instituted by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as result of coordinated efforts with the Biden-Harris Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force and US DOT to improve the velocity of container movement off the LA/LB terminals. The program went into effect on November 1st and invoicing of the fee is scheduled to start today, November 15th.  

In these same two Ports, there will also be a change in the structure of the Pier Pass program. To incentivize movement of cargo from the terminals during off-peak hours, the Pier Pass fee of $78.23 per TEU (twenty foot equivalent unit, thus $156.46 per 40-foot container) will only be charged for containers pulled between 7:00am and 5:59pm. The fee will be waived from 6:00pm to 6:59am and for 24 hours on the weekends. This change will be in effect from December 1, 2021, until January 31, 2022. Here you can find the link to the full details

Europe: In Europe, there are more planned strikes in Italy. Last week, workers in the port of Genoa stopped work during the first and last hour of each day, dramatically slowing the movement of cargo in and out of this port. Carriers cancelled all “carrier haulage” moves for the upcoming week to try to catch up on the backlog. This week, another strike has been called in the port of Leghorn for November 18th and 19th. These strikes worsen an already stressed situation, further limiting equipment availability and flow of cargo. In the Netherlands, the Prime Minister announced a partial lockdown that started on Saturday November 13th with many restrictions placed on business operations, details of which can be found here. In the port of Fos Sur Mer in Southern France, multiple blank sailings and port omissions have created an equipment shortage, and some carriers are restricting or stopping bookings from Fos for the next one to two weeks.   

South America:  There is some good news from Chile as the weather pattern has greatly improved and vessels have resumed normal operations in San Antonio port for the last few weeks. The backlog created by weeks of weather delays has almost cleared out, and we expect a normal cargo flow by early December. As the Southern Hemisphere moves into their late spring/summer season, the mountain pass between Argentina and Chile should remain open with normal cargo flows between Mendoza area and the ports in Chile.  

Oceania:  Australia and New Zealand both remain heavily congested. We are seeing improvements in cargo flow from New Zealand, with delays more likely in transhipment ports or outside USA ports than at origin. Australia labor issues are continuing, adding stress points to an already congested situation.

South Africa:  Space is very tight out of South Africa to USA and Europe destinations, and bookings are currently full for the upcoming weeks. With this current congestion, we have been advised of a December 1st surcharge on some carriers.

As the holidays approach, please continue to plan for congestion, delays, and surcharges. We will keep you informed as always, and please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions. 

Weekly Hot Spot Update

November 5, 2021

Will it get worse before it gets better? The overall feeling in the industry is that indeed, we are going to have a rough November and December with no end in sight for the congestion and disruption in the global supply chain. Below is our quick around the world summary of the hot topics.

Italy: Italy continues to be plagued by localized strikes and service disruptions due to labor action. Next week, there is a port strike planned in Genoa that will cut work hours each day for the entire week. This could be resolved via ongoing negotiation; but, if not, it will create further delays. Italy is also experiencing severe equipment shortages, partly due to bad weather creating “cut and run” vessel operations, with vessels departing before offloading all containers.

Australia: “Industrial action” continues to affect services in Australia, with sporadic strikes delaying cargo movement. We have reports of cargo being delayed into the new year, so please plan accordingly if you have cargo departing from this region.  

UK: England continues to be a tough spot to get trucks for either inter-european moves or export, and issues with BREXIT are plaguing border crossings. Scotland and Ireland are the sweet spots in terms of equipment and smooth sailing for deep sea exports.  

LA/LB “Dwell” Fee: To supplement our Monday message on the new fee to be charged in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, we can report that most ocean carriers have announced that they will pass on the charges to the importer. The new fee is in effect as of November 1st. Any containers intended to move via rail that are left on the terminal for 6 days or more will be hit with $100 on the first day, increasing in increments of $100 each day thereafter. The same stipulations apply for containers scheduled to move via truck if they are left for 9 days or more. There has been a great deal of public outcry and controversy over this fee, along with a wide range of predictions as to the outcome and potential unintended consequences. The hope is that the fee will incentivize everyone to get their containers off the terminals and ease the congestion. On this, we will keep you updated.

Seattle, Miami and Savannah ports:  Key carriers have announced that will be omitting these three ports in November and possibly longer due to the congestion in the ports or in effort to counter schedule disruption. Carriers continuing to call Savannah have announced surcharges. Please reach out to us if you want any specifics on these changes to port rotations.

Please see the attached update from Maersk on the USA summary of congestion issues. We will continue to keep you informed of the logistical hot spots around the world, and, as always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns. 


November 1, 2021

US Exporters can celebrate the removal of tariffs on American Whisky

Announcements were spread throughout the industry yesterday in regards to the change in policy from the E.U. per Chris Swonger of DISCUS:

“After three very difficult years of sagging American Whiskey exports, the E.U. and U.S. are back to a zero-for-zero tariff agreement on distilled spirits, which has been instrumental to our export success and job creation on both sides of the Atlantic since 1997,” said Chris Swonger, president and CEO of the DISCUS. “Lifting this tariff burden on American whiskeys not only boosts U.S. distillers and farmers, it also supports the recovery of E.U. restaurants, bars and distilleries hit hard by the pandemic. We are energized and ready to ramp up our American whiskey promotions in the E.U. to re-introduce America’s native spirits to EU consumers.”

The official announcement is expected this week. While tariffs remain in place in the UK, it is expected that these tariffs will also be removed in the coming weeks.

US Importers in LA/LB can expect additional fees:

The announcement last week of the implementation of a new fee to be imposed on containers exceeding designated dwell times created a lot of buzz in the industry. Is it legal? Should it have been subject to the FMC 30 day filing rule? Who is going to end up paying? This press release from the Port of Long Beach covers the details of the new fee, and we have provided a summary of the facts below:

Name of the new fee: Container Excess Dwell Fee

Ports affected: LA and Long Beach

Cargo affected: Full Import containers only

Date of implementation: November 1

Date of first assessment of the fee: November 15

Fee basis: $100 for first day, and each day the fee increases by $100. For containers scheduled to move from the terminal via truck, the charge will start on the 9th day. For containers scheduled to move out via rail, the charge will start on the 6th day.

Percentage of containers currently on terminals more than the 6 or 9 day time frame: 40%

Who will pay: The ocean carriers will be billed for the charge and most have announced that they will bill the consignee/importer. 

Where will the money go: Per Harbor commission announcement: “ Any fees collected from dwelling cargo will be re-invested for programs designed to enhance efficiency, accelerate cargo velocity, and address congestion impacts”

The Harbor Commission has stated that if dwell times are dramatically improved prior to November 15, the fee will not be assessed. The impact of this announcement is, of course, unknown at this time. Will importers that have been unable to pull containers off terminals due to lack of space in warehouses rush to move containers? Could this mean fewer chassis available due to more containers sitting on chassis in trucking company or warehouse yards? Or, will this plan effectively improve the velocity of movement from the terminals and improve the overall schedule integrity of the ocean carriers? We will see how this pans out and will be reporting back. 

Logistics Hot Topics

September 10, 2021

In our weekly hot topics report, we are focusing on the USA congestion situation. With record levels of imports continuing to flood the ports and terminals in the USA, the challenges of moving cargo in and out of terminals, as well as the return of empty containers continues to mount.  It is a complicated situation to grasp as so many parties are involved in the overall transaction, and our goal today is to outline the trouble spots.

LA/Long Beach/Oakland/Seattle: The West Coast ports remain extremely backed up. On Wednesday, 44 vessels were anchored outside LA/Long Beach creating a trickle down of delays at the local terminals that extend north to the other ports. Carriers are often omitting Oakland or Seattle on their schedules to try to “catch up” after discharging at the key volume port of LA/Long Beach. With volumes at record levels, and all parties trying to pull cargo before demurrage begins, all local storage facilities are at capacity and there is just no space to store containers once they are pulled. This leads trucking companies to insist on a live unload AND a confirmed appointment to return the empty unit. The strain on the system is incredible right now, and is exacerbated by an overall staffing shortage situation at almost every warehouse. Demurrage and detention are almost inevitable, so be prepared for extra costs.

NY/Norfolk/Savannah/Charleston: The East Coast ports are also seeing incredible volumes, and while the ship backlog is not as significant, the terminals are all congested, warehouses are full, and truck power is maxed out. Truckers that used to handle refrigerated loads are no longer doing so due to the additional hassles of genset availability. Additionally, in order to free up trucker time and equipment, truckers are pushing for transload services where previously a long haul would have taken place. 

Miami/Port Everglades/Houston: The Port Everglades terminal is currently one of the bright spots with little congestion and quick turnaround. Miami and Houston are congested but not as extreme as the ports mentioned above, and, in general, truck power is available to pull containers within the free time. However, some truckers are charging a congestion fee of $150 per container when pulling out of Miami and South Florida terminals, so just be aware if you have cargo traveling into those areas.

Inland points/Railheads: The situation at rail locations in the Midwest remains critical. The backlog into Chicago from the US West Coast is still miles long, and chassis shortages are running rampant, delaying removal of containers from rail cars and delaying availability for pick ups. Once grounded, the free time at the rail is generally limited to 2 days, and with a lack of truck power and chassis, this is often difficult to manage.

Demurrage/terminal storage/detention: All of these terms can be confusing, and you can be subject to all three items on any one container. Demurrage is charged by the shipping line per day per container from the date of the last “free” day on the terminal until removal from the terminal. Free time can vary by line and by contract, but is usually 4-5 days. Terminal storage is charged by the terminal for storage of the container from the last free day. This time period can be different that the shipping line time period, and is paid separately.  Detention (or per diem) is charged when the shipping line’s equipment (ie your container) is outside the terminal for longer than the designated free time (again, this can vary, but is generally 4-5 days). With appointments for empty return of containers difficult to obtain, the detention charges can add up quickly and you may get a surprise invoice on something over which you have very little control. Additionally, terminals and carriers have different rate structure for different ports/terminals. Most publish their tariff rates on their websites, but it is not easy to find, nor interpret. This is one of the areas that the FMC is looking at and WSSA will be very involved with on the new National Shipper Advisory Committee.

Press Release: Alison Leavitt Appointed to FMC National Shipper Advisory Committee

September 10, 2021

Portland, ME

Alison Leavitt, Managing Director of WSSA, Appointed as Member of the FMC National Shipper Advisory Committee

We are pleased to announce that Alison Leavitt, Managing Director of WSSA, has been appointed to the newly formed National Shipper Advisory Committee. This new committee could not come at a better time, as importers and exporters have all been suffering during the current logistics crisis, and the high costs of freight, demurrage, and lack of integrity in the supply chain. Committee members were carefully vetted by the Federal Maritime Commission and will take an active role in providing input to the FMC with the goal of improving the overall process, from enforcement of guidelines on demurrage and detention, to investigation of contractual agreements, and much more.  

We look forward to input from our members and taking case studies to the committee to review the realities of the the movement of ocean cargo.   

Weekly Logistics Hot Spot Update

September 3, 2021

Germany: The German railroads are on strike again and will be inactive until Tuesday, September 7th. The issue with inland transportation and pick ups is impacted and straining the resources of trucking companies. Empty containers are in short supply outside of the major ports and our team in Germany is working to pull empty equipment from ports to arrange loading. The issues in Germany are also complicated by new regulations on delivery windows at the terminals.

New Zealand: Parts of New Zealand remain in Level 4 lockdown, allowing only essential businesses to operate. Fortunately, both logistics and beverage alcohol remain on the essential list, and we are able to continue to operate. But, with remote working conditions and limitations on warehouse staff, we are experiencing delays in loading containers. Furthemore, NZ was hit by internet outages over the last few days, causing disruption in all areas of the economy, including container bookings. 

Chile: Ships have been running more smoothly in the last two weeks and the weather in the mountains has not been as severe, but there is still a backlog of cargo slowly getting cleared out. San Antonio was hardest hit, and we have been adjusting cargo to depart from Valparaiso as needed.

UK: The UK suppliers are experiencing shortages of dry goods including cardboard and glass. We are seeing orders pushed back due to these shortages. This trend in material shortages is global but has hit the UK hard in recent weeks.

Continental Europe: Truck power, rail issues, and lack of equipment continue to plague continental Europe, and truck prices continue to rise (including in the UK and Ireland). Vessels continue to run at full capacity or overbooked, feeder vessels continue to struggle with schedule integrity, and we continue to see sporadic port omissions. The carriers are planning for another rate increase in October, and published announcements are calling for increases in the Q4 figures.

USA: The USA continues to see record volumes of imports, with all major ports struggling with the volumes. Truck power continues to be a problem, especially for temperature controlled containers requiring gensets, and we are seeing substantial delays on removal of reefer containers, resulting in significant demurrage figures. For USA exports, carriers continue to cancel loads at the last minute, causing severe disruption and delays. The FMC is looking into these practices and reviewing cancellation on exports as well as unreasonable demurrage and detention charges.

Should anyone have any questions on the above, please let us know. Wishing everyone a safe and fun-filled Labor Day weekend!

Port of New Orleans Remains Closed Following Hurricane Ida

September 1, 2021

Following Hurricane Ida’s landfall on Sunday, New Orleans is still reeling from the impact. With widespread power outages in the region, transportation has halted and many residents are just working to make it through the aftermath. The port of New Orleans remains closed since Sunday due to the lack of power, and vessels outside the port are waiting at anchor or diverting to other ports. Being one of the largest outages documented in the region to date, it remains difficult to tell when power will be restored. Currently, rail operations are suspended and only one lane is open on the main highway through the city. Crews are working to remove debris, but until power can be safely supplied to the city again, inbound and outbound transport will remain at a standstill.

We hope for the safety of everyone who has been impacted by this drastic storm. As always, we will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates as necessary.

Discover WSSA's Expertise on Global Supply Chain Constraints in WSD's Article

August 24, 2021

In case you missed the Bar Convent event last week, Wine & Spirits Daily published an excellent recap of the Global Supply Chain Constraints panel, which featured WSSA’s own Managing Director, Alison Leavitt; Chris Song, National Sales Manager, Green River Spirits Company; and Monique Huston, VP, Spirits Portfolio, Winebow.

In their article titled “Grokking Global Supply Chain Constraints” WSD outlined the panel’s ideas and thoughts on the status of the industry. WSD reported, “ 'Everything that could go wrong is going wrong,' said Alison. WSSA is seeing equipment problems, huge delays, no new capacity, late ordering of containers, and thus, lack of visibility for planning. Not to mention, other issues that, normally, would not be a huge deal, are making the situation worse. That includes fires on ships, storms, labor shortage and strikes."

WSD also featured Monique’s perspective as she “showed a picture of just how backed up one port is, with 64 ships sitting in Long Beach a few months ago with a 15-day wait time (as opposed to just 1-2 days). And each ship carries about 10,000 containers. 'The liquid goods are there, the problem is nobody has glass, paper, cans,' etc., she added."

The article also shared Chris’ thoughts as "he has had 'lots of difficult conversations as charges increase.' And he doesn’t 'think they’ll go away anytime soon,' leading to a higher shelf retail price."

All three speakers provided advise: "Alison said you have to 'control what you can,' meaning planning for additional costs, factoring in delays, and working with reliable companies. And Chris emphasized that it’s 'absolutely imperative to be flexible and have a plan B, and in these times a plan C, D, E…' Monique echoed the sentiment."

The panel went on to make predictions on how long this challenging situation will last, and how to find the silver linings during these times.

The full recap article by WSD is linked here. We thank them for publishing such a comprehensive report and bringing the panel speakers’ words of expertise to light.

Global Logistics Crisis: Hot Spots

July 29, 2021

South Africa: As reported earlier in the week, South Africa ports suffered a cyber-attack and the terminal IT systems are not back to normal. The terminals have implemented a manual process to release and receive containers. Our team in South Africa is managing the situation as best as possible, but they do expect delays on shipments until full functionality is restored. Please let us know if you have any specific questions or concerns.

New Zealand: New Zealand continued to experience schedule disruption, especially on the feeder vessels from the South Island and particularly Nelson port. The feeder vessels continue to omit the port call or roll containers due to weight restrictions or overbooking, thus further delaying connections to the mother vessels departing Auckland and Tauranga. We are working with the team in NZ to proactively move to alternative ports when possible, but the situation remains challenging and schedule integrity is extremely poor.

Europe: Truck power and equipment availability remain problematic in many regions. The rail and barge situation on the Continent has been affected due to both the flooding situation and congestion and repairs in some areas. We work with all of our carriers each week to evaluate the capacity and utilize all options to keep cargo moving as smoothly as possible.

Chile: Delays are significant due to vessels omitting port calls caused by bad weather and strike issues. We do expect the flow to normalize in a few weeks, but the backlog is significant at this time. Reefer containers are scarce so plan ahead should you need reefer equipment. 

USA: The USA situation for inland moves remains dire. Ocean carriers are refusing to handle inland moves either at time of booking or after arrival as capacity is at a critical stage. If they are handling deliveries, surcharges are being applied. The UP rail has resumed moving cargo from LA port after a week-long stoppage. Metering is continuing on most rail lines into highly congested areas. Truck power in many ports is stretched to the limit and even with forecasting and advance planning, it remains challenging to pull containers off terminals within the allowed free time. 

FMC Audit: The Federal Maritime Commission is conducting an audit on all major ocean carriers to review detention and demurrage practices. If any of you have specific issues that you would like to report via formal complaint, we would be happy to assist you with the process. We are in close touch with FMC commissioners discussing the current logistics challenges and are hoping to be part of a new shippers committee established by the FMC. 

Overall market situation: We still do not see an end in sight for the overall market congestion. Imports continue to surge on a global basis. Almost every region continues to suffer with some type of delay—whether it is due to lack of trucks, equipment, port congestion, schedule changes or vessel space.

We will continue to keep you updated on these developments. If you have any specific regions for which you need more detailed information, please contact us any time.

South African Ports Under Cyber Attack

July 22, 2021

Just this morning, we have been informed by the South African Ports Authority that their IT system has suffered a CYBER ATTACK. All South African Ports (Cape Town, PE and Durban) and Railway Lines are closed with immediate effect. This could not have come at worst time after South Africa experienced the unrest and rioting of the past week.

Due to the impact on TRANSNET systems we expect delays in both uplifting as well as delivering equipment to the ports. Our offices in South Africa will continue to monitor the situation and advise of any further implications on the shipments, but please plan for delays accordingly. 

We keep our colleagues and friends in South Africa in our thoughts during these difficult times, and hope for swift resolution of this issue. 

Weather, Strikes, Riots: Continued Disruption in the Global Supply Chain

July 15, 2021

Italy: We received a report this morning of a planned strike in the port of Genoa for July 19. This may be cancelled; but if it occurs, we will expect schedule disruption in this port. As we have reported, Italy is also suffering from severe congestion and limited operations in the intermodal rail system, forcing most shipments to move via truck. This is affecting the flow of cargo and the price of the movement from supplier to port.

North Europe: Severe weather and rain in Germany, Belgium and France is affecting rail, truck, and barge movements in these countries. With equipment shortages in inland depots forcing pick ups of empty containers in the ports with “round trip” requirements, this disruption will create further delays in movement of cargo from these areas in the next week.

Chile: High tides continue to disrupt operations at the Port of San Antonio. Coupled with the indefinite stevedore union strike, delays and increased costs can be expected in the coming weeks. 

South Africa: Riot activity in South Africa is drastically impacting the flow of supply chain. Primarily in Durban, transport activities have been completely disrupted and distribution centers have been targeted for looting. Exports have slowed as suppliers are wary to pack containers amidst the violence. We remain optimistic for a resolution soon, and send our thoughts to all of our colleagues and members in the affected regions. 

As always, we will continue to keep you updated on these developments. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns. 

USA Congestion: Part 2

July 7, 2021

As a follow up from our mailing earlier today, pls see below summary from one of the top steamship lines published today:


With the large number of congested ports and ships awaiting berths, please understand that the dates for arrivals / departures and cut-offs are constantly changing. 

Terminal Operations:

LAX/LGB Terminal Update:

There are currently 19 ships (+10) at anchor awaiting berths in LAX/LGB as of Friday, July 2nd. All terminals are extremely congested due to the spike in import volumes and basis current projections the congestion is expected to last until through the summer.  

Changes of destination (COD's) and container "dig outs" are restricted due to lack terminal space and customers are urged to continue to expedite the pickup of their import containers and inform any COD requests at least four working days before the start of vessel operations. The demand for available labor while improving, still affects all terminal operations, turnaround time for truckers, inter terminal transfers, the number of daily appointments available for gate transactions and delays in vessels operations.  

We are currently facing extreme limited single empty return options and restricted mainly to dual transactions. Local trucking delays have been considerably reduced and are expected to continue improving in the upcoming month.

The LAX/LGB rail operations from all terminals continue to deteriorate due lack of rail capacity and railcars from the UP rail. This is affecting all on/off dock intermodal moves. 

Oakland Terminal Update:

Currently there are 18 ships (-8) at anchor or drifting in the San Francisco Bay area as of July 2nd. The three new shore cranes and berth are now fully operational at OICT. Massive import volumes combined with labor shortages are the biggest drivers of continued congestion and vessel operations delays. The Port of Oakland has had three consecutive months of import gains, setting a new record in May surpassing over 100,000 TEUs.  

Export receiving windows are shrinking from 4 to 3 days in some cases to assist with volume on terminal. Alternative gate hours continue to have low trucker participation. Vessels will be delayed in order to decrease terminal dwell, make room for incoming imports and keep terminals fluid as possible. Yard rehandling and restows on vessels due to change of rotation and additional empty lift out of LAX/LGB is creating further delays. All berths remain occupied.

New York Terminal Update:

Berth utilization continues to be high through the first week of July,  Terminal yard utilization has stabilized but expected to increase this week with all NY terminals, except PNCT, closed on July 5th in observance of the July 4th holiday. Terminal gate turn times are at acceptable service levels, but expected to increase next week due to 4 day work week.  Select terminals are opening on Saturdays to facilitate increased import deliveries.

Savannah Terminal Update:

Currently 8 ships at anchor (+4) as of July 2nd. Continue to see delays at berth due to dredging. Dredging continues in berth 2, moving to berth 8 by the weekend. By mid-July all dredging at the berths should be complete. The main gates and rail operations are running fluid.  Stacks behind berths 7-8-9 for additional empties is still in progress and should be complete early October. GPA is investing in new RTG cranes to increase yard capacity in the same terminal footprint.  


Canadian Terminal and Rail Delays Update

Terminals: Vancouver, Prince Rupert:

High yard utilization at all terminals in Vancouver as a result of increased import volumes.  Expected to last well into Q3. Vessels calling Vancouver are experiencing delays, resulting in increased vessel dwell time. Prince Rupert berth and yard productivity are stable. No delays to vessel berthing.

Rail: Railcar availability is inconsistent due to vessel delays impacting export delivery and BC fires.  

Terminals: Montreal

All terminals are experiencing a shortage of labor, resulting in delays to ship schedules.  This is expect to continue throughout the summer months.

Intermodal Operations:

Capacity limitation in certain markets due to import volume spikes and severe drivers’ shortage.  

Chassis Pools:

With the recent unprecedented Import volumes, there is currently a historically high demand for chassis throughout the USA. This demand has shown to be persistent on 40ft chassis and intermittent on 20ft chassis.  In order to minimize any negative impact on supply chains, customers are asked to take immediate steps to reduce container and chassis off terminal dwell time. This includes all inland terminals as well as port terminals.  Without a significant reduction in the dwell times, truckers may face serious challenges and delays in securing good order chassis as long as this surge in imports continues.

Truck Power & Intermodal Congestion Continue in the USA

July 7, 2021

This week brought more announcements on cost increases in USA domestic trucking and intermodal movements. The congestion at USA ports and rail hubs continues to worsen, and carriers are announcing surcharges in the range of $350.00 under the auspices of “Emergency Intermodal Charge/EIC." Unfortunately, the costs continue to mount, and the number of additions to your freight bills add up. Keeping track of surcharges can be challenging as they range from equipment to fuel to congestion to intermodal, each with an acronym that may vary by carrier. 

We are also cognizant of the extreme difficulty in getting containers moved from ports and rail terminals prior to the last free day. Importers are running into significant demurrage bills, especially on reefer loads that get hit with the highest storage costs. The chaos in the industry is challenging for everyone, but the costs are primarily borne by the importers and exporters. Steamship lines are often advising that they cannot perform deliveries and throwing the responsibility back to the forwarder or shipper—often on the last free day. Truckers are cancelling pick ups due to lack of drivers or chassis, often on the day the pick up is scheduled. There is very little recourse as we all need every carrier and every trucker available.

There are lots of problems and very few solutions at this moment. We hear the complaints of the shipping community, and we communicate on a daily basis with our ocean carriers and truckers, working to find solutions and plan for contingencies for deliveries as much as possible.  

The question that is constantly asked is “when will this end?” 

Unfortunately, there is no short term solution and no definitive time frame as to normalization, or what a new normal may look like. As the ocean carriers continue to make incredible profits, we will keep pressure on them to invest in performance and honor commitments. The situation is global and any one incident—whether it be a holiday, a storm, or a COVID outbreak—will trickle down and affect the entire chain.  

We will continue to update the beverage alcohol shipping community on a weekly basis as to hot spots and problem areas, and please reach out to us with any questions.

Global Shipping Congestion & Skyrocketing Rates

May 24, 2021

We have been reporting monthly on the various issues confronting the global supply chain. Unfortunately, there is still no relief in sight. Last week WSSA participated in a webinar produced by the Women’s Leadership Council of WSWA entitled “Anatomy of an Import." Other speakers included Christina Mariana-May, CEO, Banfi; Dina Opici, President, Opici Family Distributing; Sonia Davenport, Director of Consumer Insights, RNDC; and moderator was Jennifer Engel, SVP National Accounts, RNDC. We highly encourage anyone interested in hearing a 360 degree perspective on the challenges facing the import industry to listen to the recording. The participants share insight from importer, distributor and logistics viewpoints and also provide some key tips on managing through this crisis.

Planning is the most difficult part, both in terms of scheduling and costs. Europe remains one of the hardest hit areas, with  lack of equipment in almost all regions. Thus, even if slots are available on a vessel, there may be no empty equipment available to load. Supplier warehouses are getting full as third party warehouses. Published vessel schedules and even web-based container tracking on carrier sites are not reliable. Last week, there were more announcements on new Equipment Surcharges and other rate increases published commencing in mid-June, with no firm indication of validity.

New Zealand also remains very tight on equipment and space on vessels, especially for the US East Coast. The port of Nelson, a key port for the Marlborough area of production, is extremely backlogged. The feeder vessels that pick up at Nelson are off schedule and continually rolling cargo scheduled for pick up. We received announcements of significant rate increases in this region as well. The situation for both Australia and NZ to the US West Coast is potentially facing an issue with more Oakland port omissions, and we will keep you posted as this situation develops. 

For South America, the biggest problem area is vessel space to the US West Coast, with all vessels overbooked and difficulties at the transhipment ports. With no direct service from Chile to the USA, we are seeing cargo congestion and schedule disruption at these transit ports. 

In Mexico, the storms last week damaged many areas around the Laredo border, and there was a temporary closure of the crossing, thus creating backlogs and lack of truck power. In this challenging time, even a short closure or small weather incident has a significant trickle down effect. 

In the USA, truck power remains challenging in many areas, and moving cargo out of the largest ports can take days if not weeks. Rail congestion is also creating issues, and getting cargo from railheads within the two day free time can be virtually impossible at the busy hubs. With congestion on both sides of the import or export shipment, remember to insure your products. The WSSA policy is designed to meet the unexpected situation, including the longest duration of risk coverage possible.

The million dollar question is, “When will this crisis be over?" Our best prediction at this point is that we will see some “normalization” by the end of the year. While the next weeks/months may get even worse, we should see gradual improvements due to a few factors:

  • Improved weather in the Atlantic thus fewer schedule disruptions caused by bad weather.
  • Slightly increased vessel capacity in the Atlantic trade lane.
  • Return to full work force of labor and drivers in the USA due to vaccination roll out.
  • Consumer spending moving to services (travel, tourism, restaurants) instead of goods, thus gradual reduction of demand for goods.
  • New containers rolling out of manufacturing sites and introduced into the supply chain.
  • Suez Canal disaster “catch up” and scheduling getting back on track.

The above are all fairly speculative, and, in the meantime, everyone needs to continue to plan for longer lead times and higher costs. Should you want more information on the rising costs and predictions, please feel free to read this Freightwaves article. We also hope you will view the recording of the webinar via the link here. We are planning to conduct a follow up webinar on the crisis toward the end of June, so stay tuned for more information and opportunity to gain valuable insight on the market conditions.

Port Strikes Create Further Congestion Issues

April 27, 2021

Port strikes in both Chile and Montreal are creating sticking points and disruption for cargo transportation. Yesterday port union workers in Chile announced a strike that has the potential to extend for several days. Due to this strike action, operations for many of the waiting vessels at Chilean ports have been suspended. This could cause further delays and congestion as vessels may miss their scheduled departure times. As we know, with the current global situation, this may have even further repercussions down the line.

Additionally the strike situation at the port of Montreal has caused the port to close completely. Vessels are not docking at the port, no operational activities are being performed and containers cannot be picked up. We highly suggest monitoring your cargo routes and exploring rerouting opportunities to avoid Montreal port.

Both of these strike situations are creating an even more strained atmosphere within the current global congestion crisis. Please plan ahead as much as possible, be prepared for additional delays and factor in the potential for increased costs. We are monitoring these situations closely and will provide updates as necessary. As always, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Global Shipping Congestion Continues

April 21, 2021

There is no clear end in sight for the surge in demand in the global shipping industry. The supply chain is strained in almost all areas of the world.  For beverage alcohol, this means out of stock situations, higher costs due to significant increases in shipping charges, and some radical actions to get products moved on a timely basis. Our current update on the key export regions for beverage alcohol follows:

Europe:  Continental Europe remains one of the hardest hit areas in terms of lack of equipment, overbooked vessels, and skyrocketing rates. The huge ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp are running low on equipment and it is difficult to find empty containers in many areas of Europe, especially at inland depots. Barge service, normally a key mode of transport in the German hinterland, is virtually at a standstill due to congestion. Italy also remains hard hit, with a massive backlog of cargo and many ocean carriers are not taking new bookings until mid to late May. Port omissions continue sporadically, with carriers skipping ports or countries to try to maintain some schedule integrity, and “rolling” of cargo at transshipment ports remains a common occurrence. The UK and Ireland are not as badly affected, but feeder vessels from ports such as Dublin or Grangemouth are often delayed or “bunched”, thus schedules are not reliable. We are continuing to effectively move all orders, but plan for longer lead times and longer transit times, and unfortunately, significantly higher prices than Q2 of 2020 when the market was at rock bottom. Demand is at an all-time high, and the prices are reflecting the demand.

Oceania:  New Zealand remains a trouble zone, with the port of Auckland being the hot spot for overall delays as it is the key import port for the country and the source of inbound equipment. Vessels are averaging 5 days at anchor waiting for berths at the port, thus creating a trickle down of delays. Some carriers are not allowing loading at Auckland, and accepting cargo only at Tauranga port. Tauranga has a huge backlog of imports and is extremely congested as well, but still running a bit more smoothly than Auckland. The port of Nelson, a key port for exports from the Marlborough/Blenheim area is also heavily congested primarily due to the trickle-down effect of vessel schedule delays at Auckland and Tauranga. Vessels are heavily booked so again, plan for delays. Australia is not as bad, and equipment is available, but schedule integrity remains a problem. Port omissions have come up, and on one key string to the USWC, there was only 1 call at Oakland during the course of 4 weeks, thus putting a strain on this lane. Vessels are all heavily booked and advance planning remains key to keeping your cargo on schedule. The continued imposition of severely high tariffs on Australian wine shipping to China has devastated this trade lane—a key market in the past for Australian wineries.

South America:  The situation in South America remains relatively stable compared to the most congested regions described above. However, issues of equipment shortages and congestion do exist. The issues are exacerbated by the limitations the Maritime Authority has placed on the port of San Antonio in terms of vessel operations, as well as carriers implementing “cut and run”, leaving the port before completion of loading to make the scheduled window at a transshipment port. All USA and European cargo is transshipped and vessels try to hit the transshipment ports in time to get the cargo onto the vessels heading onward. This has created backlogs and rolling of containers at the ports. BAF/Bunker fuel prices have also risen in this area, and have contributed to an uptick in the rates, but not nearly as dramatic as the European increases. Surcharges are in play in the lanes that are most congested, such as the Chile to US West Coast lane.

South Africa:  This country has been hard hit by COVID and various lockdowns, including prohibition of alcohol in the domestic market. The port of Cape Town has been running at low productivity for many months, with continued operational backlogs and congestion primarily due to COVID. Overall, cargo is moving and the rates remain relatively stable from this region. In the last few days, there was a major wild fire on nearby Table Mountain which temporarily blocked some roadways and created local disruption. 

US Exports:  Exporters are also feeling the impact of the global congestion. Shipping lines are preferring to return empty containers to Asia, where they can secure extremely high prices for shipping full containers back to USA and Europe at rates that top $10,000 per container. Securing empty equipment for exporters is challenging in certain areas, and we work closely with our carrier partners to hold them to their allocations and find equipment. 

US Port Congestion: Record import volumes continue to plague major USA ports with double and triple digit increases from the previous year. While the ports of NY/NJ have been seeing some improvements, truck power still remains an issue for longer haul deliveries, such as those into Pennsylvania or New England states. LA/Long Beach and Oakland remain problem areas, with berthing delays from 6-12 days and dozens of vessels waiting outside the terminals. Savannah has recently become a trouble spot with significant backlogs for moving cargo off terminals and onto the rail. We are keeping our eye on Montreal, with labor issues continuing but no strike as of yet.   

Tariff Suspension:  WSSA is continuing to work with all key industry associations to fight for a permanent end to retaliatory tariffs on beverage alcohol. The Association recently participated in a panel speaking to members of Congress, including the leaders of the Bourbon Caucus, explaining the impact of the tariffs and the effect of the short term suspension on an already strained supply chain. Next week, WSSA and other industry executives will present to the Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Agriculture, Jason Hafemeister, again explaining the need for certainty and stability for the beverage alcohol industry to survive and thrive.

Should you have any questions or need further details on any of the above points, please reach out to us at  

Suez Canal & Italy Strike Could Increase Congestion & Delays

March 26, 2021

The Evergreen ship that has been blocking the Suez Canal since March 23rd is creating an even more strained situation on an already critical global shipping crisis. With over 30 ships being forced to halt due to this blockage, we can expect even more congestion, blank sailings and delays to compound. Most major carriers use this waterway on a regular basis, and every day that the Evergiven is stuck means more and more ships stacking up waiting to transit the canal. 

In addition to these delays, Italy has announced a transportation strike for March 29-30. Negotiations have been ongoing without a positive resolution, resulting in the planned strike. In a country where congestion is at a peak and equipment is scarce, this is a less than ideal situation. 

Shippers should be aware that these circumstances will increase the potential for further delays. Please plan for even more lead time and increased costs as the trickle-down effect.

We will continue to provide updates as necessary, and please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.

Global Congestion Continues...and Worsens

March 24, 2021

Just when we thought it could not get any worse, a 20,000 TEU Evergreen vessel is currently stuck in the Suez Canal, blocking over 100 ships on either end of the canal from passing. The Evergiven ran aground due to weather issues, and is basically sideways in the canal. There is a massive effort going on to move the vessel and get it back on track. Approximately 50 vessels pass through the canal each day, and the longer the Evergiven is stuck, the longer the backup and more schedule delays. Click here for a full report by the New York Times on the Evergiven situation. 

There are a few bright spots to report. As of yesterday, only 25 vessels were waiting for berths outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, down from the peak of 40 vessels. We are also seeing better throughput onto rail at the port of NY/NJ. However, the congestion issues and lack of equipment continues to deteriorate in many areas. Italy is incredibly hard hit, with literally no equipment available for loading and no space on vessels. Northern Europe is also struggling, and cargo is being rolled from one week to the next due to overbookings and congestion at hub ports such as Rotterdam. New Zealand continues to see huge problems in the port of Auckland with berthing delays and vessels skipping this key port, trickling down to a lack of equipment and massive delays in exports. South America is also suffering, with space restrictions implemented to clear out congestion which expected to continue until mid-April, especially for cargo destined to the US West Coast.  

For Canadian-bound cargo, we are keeping  a close eye on the labor negotiations at the port of Montreal with the potential for a strike at the port looming large. Canadian importers are looking at contingency plans to utilize other ports, but should a strike happen, congestion and delays will quickly pile up in the other Canadian ports.  

Congestion, equipment imbalance, and peak season surcharges are being implemented in many areas, and global shipping rates continue to tick upwards. When will this be over? Everyone in the industry has predictions, but most believe that the volumes of cargo will continue and rise as shopping, dining, tourism and travel reopen. The pent up demand is massive, and we expect to be in this current cycle until the end of the year. 

Should you need any specific data on any region or port pairs, please let us know.

Storm Klaus Brings Delays to North Europe Ports

March 11, 2021

In Germany, storm Klaus hit the country’s coast and mountain regions today bringing hurricane force winds and severe rain. Due to these current effects, North European ports such as Rotterdam, Hamburg and Antwerp have suspected terminal operations. Please be aware that this may lead to handing restrictions and may also increase delays and costs in some areas.

This news of bad weather and port closures is coming at a time when delays are already running rampant, and we can expect shipments out of Northern Europe to be even further delayed. Please continue to build more time in your supply chain to accommodate for these delays. We will continue to monitor this situation, and please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Global Shipping Crisis Reported to the President

February 25, 2021

As everyone is aware, the global meltdown in the movement of cargo is continuing at full strength with no relief in sight. For importers, this means delays of many weeks to get cargo out of Europe and other congested regions. For exporters, the crisis has resulted in cancellations of bookings for months at a time. The crisis includes moving goods from the Texas border due to the extreme weather in that area, getting access to truck or rail moves from California, and moving containers off terminals in LA or NY.  

WSSA continues to support all efforts to find solutions to the crisis. We work toward improvements that will lead to more resilience of the supply chain in the future, whether it be supporting grey chassis’ and eliminating “box rule” requirements or advising the FMC when carriers and terminals are not following the FMC guidelines for reasonable behavior on detention and demmurage.  

As a member of the AgTC, we are signatories on a letter sent to President Biden supporting the needs of agriculture exporters, and we are happy to share this letter here.

We will keep all of you updated as to deterioration or improvements in the USA and abroad, and please reach out to us should you have any issues you would like to review or discuss.

GSP Updates and Issues

February 16, 2021

On top of the global logistics crisis we are currently experiencing, shippers should also be aware of the lapse of the GSP that occurred 12/31/2020. GSP or Generalized System of Preferences is a trade program that provides nonreciprocal, duty-free treatment for certain U.S imports from eligible developing countries. GSP has to be renewed by Congress and is continually lapsing due to year end issues. This year followed suit when Congress did not vote to renew GSP before year end. With the incoming President Biden Administration, the GSP program will likely face a thorough review before renewal.

It is important to note the process for handling customs duty and GSP while it is in an “expired” state as outlined in the attached GSP FAQ document. Unfortunately, while the program is lapsed, importers must pay the normal duty rate, but the broker can still use the GSP “A” designation on the entry.  If GSP is re-instated, the normal process is that Customs will automatically issue refunds on duty for any entries that are properly flagged with the GSP designation.  Thus, it is essential that the broker still input this notation when transmitting the entry. The primary wine-producing countries that fall within GSP eligibility are Argentina and South Africa, but the full list of GSP countries published by the USTR can be found here. For South Africa, the good news is that this country also falls into the AGOA Free trade agreement, the African Growth and Opportunity Act and most beverage alcohol products are designated duty free under this program.

We will keep tabs on this issue and provide further information on the GSP reinstatement as the situation develops. As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

USA Port Congestion = Demurrage and Detention

February 11, 2021

There is rising frustration over the mounting volume of demurrage and detention bills that many importers are receiving due to port and terminal congestion in USA ports. As mentioned in our Monday update, the ports of Los Angeles and New York/New Jersey are currently the hardest hit, but there are delays in almost all USA ports that ebb and flow.

As the terminology can get confusing, please note the key distinctions:

Demurrage is the charge that accumulates while the container is still within the terminal beyond the designated “free time." Free time varies slightly by carrier and contract but is generally 4-5 days and can be assessed based on calendar day or working day. For refrigerated containers, the free time is generally limited to 2 days.

Detention is the charge that accumulates for use of the container outside the terminal beyond the designated “free time." Again, free time can vary, but is generally in the same range as demurrage. 

Carriers have tariffs for demurrage and detention, and these tariffs can vary by port or terminal. It is extremely complex, and there is no set fee across the board, nor is there transparency on these fees.  

As a quick example on demurrage, if you are not able to retrieve your container until 2 days after the free time is up, you could pay approximately $200-$300 per day for demurrage. If you are not able to pick up until 10 days after the free time is up, this charge can double per day. Detention is generally a lower rate, but can average around $75.00 per day.
When ports and terminals are congested, truck power also becomes an issue as truckers are waiting in long lines to get into a terminal, and can lose an entire day waiting in line. When terminals are not congested, that same truck driver could potentially make 3 round trips from the port to a warehouse. Furthermore, with the terminals completely buried in cargo, the appointment system to pick up containers breaks down, and they often have to close areas of the terminal when off loading a ship or when trying to clear out another area. Thus, truckers may have an appointment, and arrive at the terminal to pick up a container after waiting 6 or 7 hours in line, only to be told the container is now in a "closed" area. In this situation, you may get charged for a "dry-run," and your container may go into demurrage.   

Truckers also have to manage the return of the empty containers, again trying to achieve this within the “detention” free time. However, in some ports, such as Los Angeles, it is taking up to three weeks to get an appointment to return the empty container—and unfortunately, the importer who had cargo in this container is the responsible party for the detention that accrues. While these issues can be part of the risks of importing, along with the category of customs exams or sudden changes of duty or tax, WSSA is working with the FMC and other associations to push carriers and terminals for flexibility and reasonable action during times like these.

Rebecca Dye, Federal Maritime Commissioner, led an investigation and report on recommendations for carriers and terminals to address what we would suggest are abusive practices when excessive congestion, labor issues, weather incidents or other problems outside the control of shippers are present.  WSSA reports incidents that are clearly out of line to the FMC as well as discussing specific issues with our contracted carriers. Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions and the FMC currently does not have an enforcement arm to put true teeth into their recommendations. We are happy to provide the FMC guidelines to anyone interested.

As bad as it is, the majority of the beverage alcohol trade lanes are still paying “reasonable” freight rates, and not paying the $9000+ cost to bring a container in from Asia. Please be prepared for continued congestion and delays, and the potential for accumulation of additional costs. As always, if you have any questions on this issue, please let us know.

Check Out Alison Leavitt's Contribution to the JOC Annual Review & Outlook!

January 13, 2021

WSSA's Managing Director, Alison Leavitt, has provided her expertise on the global shipping industry in the Journal of Commerce Annual Review & Outlook. Check out her contribution at the link below!

Read Alison's analysis on key progressions within the shipping industry, and discover what is in store for 2021!

Alison Leavitt, JOC ARO Contribution

New Year Trade Recap

January 4, 2021

As we welcome 2021 and ease back into the post-holiday routine, we would like to recap the key industry updates that passed over the holiday break:

CBMA Gains Permanence

As we reported December 28th, the President signed the “Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021” as approved by Congress, which included permanency for the Craft Beverage Modernization Act. For the beverage alcohol industry, this is great news! As reported previously, there are changes in the language of the law that will have an impact, primarily on importers. But, for importers, nothing changes in the immediate term and all provisions currently in place are planned to continue until January 1, 2023. However, there are some documentation procedural changes that CBP announced, and we have subsequently reported. Should you need assistance with those changes, please let us know.

In the next six months, the legislation requires that the Department of Treasury, in coordination with CBP/Department of Homeland Security, prepare a report as to the implementation and new process for administering CBMA post December 31, 2022. WSSA and other key industry associations expect to be actively involved in providing input to the future process, and we look forward to working with all of our members for public input.

US Expands Retaliatory Tariff List

New Year’s Eve, we reported the announcement of the addition to the retaliatory tariff list under the WTO Airbus decision. Please note that there was an error in the previous publication as we stated,“the tariffs are specific to the size of the containers thus not affecting the normal 750ml bottles or 1.5 L bottles, but only on over 2L for the majority of the items” which is incorrect. As specified by the list below, many of the products will be subject to the tariffs in containers 2 liters or less, but please refer to the specifications under the tariff heading for specific container sizes.

The following products of France and Germany have been added to the action, and included in Part 18, which has been inserted in the descriptive list in Section 2.

HTS Subheading Product Description

2204.21.20 Effervescent grape wine, in containers holding 2 liters or less

2204.21.30 Tokay wine (not carbonated) not over 14% alcohol, in containers not over 2 liters

2204.21.60 "Marsala" wine, over 14% vol. alcohol, in containers holding 2 liters or less

2204.21.80 Grape wine, other than "Marsala", not sparkling or effervescent, over 14% vol. alcohol, in containers holding 2 liters or less

2204.22.20 Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic strength by volume <=14% in containers holding over 2liters but not over 4liters

2204.22.40 Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic strength by volume >14% in containers holding over 2 liters but not over 4 liters

2204.22.60 Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic strength by volume <=14% in containers holding over 4 liters but not over 10 liters

2204.22.80 Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic strength by volume >14% in containers holding over 4 liters but not over 10 liters

2204.29.61 Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic strength by volume <=14% in containers holding >10 liters

2204.29.81 Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic strength by volume >14% in containers holding >10 liters

2204.30.00 Grape must, nesoi, in fermentation or with fermentation arrested otherwise than by addition of alcohol

2208.20.40** Spirits obtained by distilling grape wine or grape marc (grape brandy), other than Pisco and Singani, in containers each holding not over 4 liters, valued over $38 per proof liter**Only a portion of HS8 digit is to be covered

Note that it is only origin France and Germany targeted in this latest update. The 25% tariff on these new products is expected to go into effect for items imported after midnight on January 12, 2021. We realize that many of you may have shipments on the water already that will be subject to these tariffs and this is a huge impact. We will update further when the final notice is published.


After a complex and intense negotiation, a deal was finally agreed upon December 24th, and as of December 31, 2020, the UK officially enacted the separation from the EU. The deal means new regulations for work, travel and trade, meaning new documents for cross-border transport and items coming into ports. While the UK and EU can continue trade with no extra taxes on goods, there are uncertain times ahead for how this deal will impact trade and service work between the two entities. The UK is also now looking to set its own trade policies and has been in discussions with the US, Australia and New Zealand to establish new trade deals. Due to new regulations and increased documentation requirements for trade, some disruption and delays could be an expectation at UK ports in the coming months. We will of course monitor this situation and provide updates regularly.

As always, if you have any questions, please let us know!

Reasons to Trade on Water with NAFTA!

September 20, 2018

In continuation with the Albatrans Global Green Initiative, we are excited to encourage importers and exporters within NAFTA to ship by ocean. Why? Because CO2 emissions are much lower than shipping by truck or air! If you are interested in shipping with Albatrans, please contact Emmanuel Sanchez, Maja Luciani, or Kara Fiorello for more information!

New Direct LCL Service Between Canada & Mexico!

August 1, 2018

Albatrans is excited to announce its newest service offering – direct LCL and FCL ocean service between Canada and Mexico!

Move your tequila, beer, produce, and even fresh and frozen foods more efficiently than ever before! As the only forwarder in the market to offer this bi-weekly service, we are proud to serve our customers by offering door to door competitive rates and safe, secure service. By partnering with MSC, we are able to offer the below transport lanes:

East Coast Service

Veracruz/Altamira to Montreal port – direct service with transit time 14 and 16 days

West Coast Service

Manzanillo to Vancouver port – direct service with transit time 9 days

Take advantage of this unique, one-of-a-kind service option today!

Contact us and speak to one of our specialized logistics professionals about how this service can satisfy your transportation needs.

Mexico Contact: Emmanuel Sanchez +52.33.3123.1260 Ext. 1005

Canada Contact: Maja Luciani +1 (416) 923-6060

USA Contact: Kara Fiorello +1 (718) 989-6467

Mexico Announces New Tandem Truck Rule

July 16, 2018

Late last month the Mexican Transport and Communications Ministry implemented a new transportation rule regulating double articulated trucks (also known as tandems). The new regulation, which went into effect June 27, 2018, requires tandem truck units to acquire and display a sticker proving their authorization to travel as a tandem unit across Mexican Territory.

Many steamship lines are making customers aware of this new regulation by sending out regular communication bulletins and instructions on how to obtain the stickers. They are also warning customers that this new rule may bring about a shortage of equipment and that loads that have previously been traveling as tandem may now have to transit as singles. Albatrans Mexico is also working with all of our shippers and truckers to explain the situation and work through these new regulations, but we do expect delays and increased costs.

To read the full version of this new rule, please click here.

If you have any questions or concerns about this new regulation, please contact us.

Countermeasures on US Tariffs Could Impact US Exports

June 1, 2018

The Trump Administration announced yesterday that the US will be implementing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Europe. As a countermeasure, the EU is potentially enacting tariffs of its own on US produced products. Many chapters will be affected, including chapter 22, which covers all alcoholic beverages. The complete list of chapters from the CN (Combined Nomenclature—similar to the US HTS code but with an added two digits) that will be impacted includes 20, 22, 33, 48, 56, 59, 62, 63, 64, 66, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 76, 84, 85, 87, 89, & 94. These countermeasure tariffs could be enacted as soon as June 20, 2018 and could raise prices for EU consumers on everyday products and potentially affect US exports to the EU.  While we wait to see how this situation will evolve, it is advisable that companies assess their current business dealings to see how this will potentially impact their bottom line. We will continue to keep tabs on this situation, and will provide further developments as available.

TTB Update Regarding New Tax Provisions!

May 16, 2018

TTB states, “Expect guidelines for the new tax provisions for importers in June.”

Alison Leavitt, Managing Director of WSSA, attended day one of the American Craft Spirits Association and DISCUS Public Policy Conference in Washington DC yesterday. The highlight of the morning session was hearing from TTB Administrator, John Manfreda, and senior members of the TTB staff, including Karen Welch, TTB Director of International Affairs, and Janet Scalese, Director of Labeling and Formulation Division, along with many other key members of the TTB team. Mr. Manfreda commented on the complexity of the changes of the CBMA (Craft Beer and Modernization Act), especially in regards to imported products. Ms. Leavitt asked Mr. Manfreda for an estimate of when guidelines would be published, and he commented that he expects to see the guidelines completed by June. WSSA will keep in touch with the TTB team in regards to this matter and will keep you closely advised.

Later in the day, the group attending the conference had a chance to meet with Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, who advised that he is working hard to extend the bill beyond its current two-year time span.

Should you have any questions on the bill or need a list of congressional delegates involved in the process in your area, please let us know!

Trucking & Rail Congestion Crisis Continues

April 13, 2018

The trucking crisis in the United States continues to be one of the greatest issues being faced by shippers in recent years. Wait times have skyrocketed to over seven days at certain ports, and at the rail there have been wait times reported of up to two weeks. The new ELD mandate, combined with and an uptick of international shipping at the beginning of this year, has created the perfect storm in which there is simply not enough supply to cover the demand. ELD enforcement began on April 1, and truck drivers who do not have ELDs will not drive away with a citation if they are caught at a roadside inspection site, but, instead, they will be placed “out of service” by the regulatory personnel and someone else will have to pick up the freight. Due to the time it takes to get in and out of ports, and average speed on the highways, the approximate distance a truck driver can travel without a layover is 242 miles.

Alison Leavitt, WSSA’s Managing Director, participated in a trade and transportation conference this past week, and the most pressing topic was the crisis in USA inland truck and rail delivery.  Per Greg Ritter, Chief Customer Officer at XPO Logistics, one of the largest USA trucking companies with over 16,000 tractors and 39,000 trailers, the problem is not a lack of equipment. He stated, “We are going to be short some place in the neighborhood of around 100,000 drivers by 2020.” On the rail side, intermodal capacity is as tight as truck capacity, and the projection of continued freight growth above 5% and international container volume growing at over 7% will continue to create congestion.

As this appears to be an issue that may not be resolved in the near future, it is our goal to make all of our customers aware of the problem, and of the delays and additional costs that this may cause to the delivery of shipments. We will do all we can to mitigate these delays, but the forecast indicates that a solution to this trucking crisis is a long way off. In the meantime, the advice to all importers and exporters is to work with your logistics providers on contingency plans and to be a “location of choice” for delivery or pick up. Thank you for your ongoing business and support, and together, we will work to find viable delivery options during this crisis time.

Trucking Shortage Brings Challenges to the Transportation Industry

March 1, 2018

The start of 2018 has brought about severe trucking shortages for the transportation industry. With new government regulations, severe winter conditions, an aging population of truck drivers, increased operating costs, and high service demand, the industry is seeing a drastic decline in truck availability. This has some challenging effects on shippers, who are now having to wait up to seven days before equipment is available. Some of the most severely congested areas include Chicago, Baltimore, Charleston, Savannah, Philadelphia, and New York. For a complete scope, the attached map displays a visual representation of the congested areas around the United States.

For shippers, this congestion could mean increased delivery delays, wait time, and/or storage fees. We are doing the best we can to mitigate these potential issues for our customers but unfortunately, additional charges will sometimes accrue.  Please be sure that we are monitoring this situation carefully as the truck power problem areas change on a weekly basis. We have attached one of the latest “heat maps” and announcements from steamship lines to give you an idea of the potential delays. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to us.

Message to Alcohol Importers from the CBP & TTB

February 1, 2018

As we keep you informed about the implementation of the changes in the Tax Reform Bill, we want to pass on the latest information from US Customs and Border Protection:


01/31/2018 12:56 PM EST

Automated Broker Interface


Under the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of 2017 (as contained in Public Law 115-97), appropriate procedures must be established in order for an importer to receive a lower effective excise tax rate on qualifying imports of beer, wine, and distilled spirits. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will be updating their websites with forthcoming guidance to importers.

Until such procedures are established and guidance is issued, importers of beer, wine, and distilled spirits seeking to qualify for excise tax relief, based on qualifying assignments made by a foreign producer, should continue to pay the full excise tax rates. Importers will be provided with the opportunity to seek the applicable excise tax relief, on entries made after the law went into effect, once forthcoming procedures and guidance have been issued.

If you have any questions relating to this message, please let us know!

New Tax Bill: Understanding the Changes to the Alcohol Industry

January 9, 2018

The beer industry, and especially craft beer brewers and importers, are rejoicing at the pass of the tax reform bill on Wednesday, December 20th, 2017. With the enactment of this bill, brewers and importers who produce less than 60,000 barrels of beer a year will see their excise tax rate fall from $7 a barrel to $3.50 a barrel. This is great news for the industry as the Brewer’s Association estimates that 97% of breweries in the country generate less than 60,000 barrels. Larger breweries, those who produce between 60,000 and 2 million barrels a year, will pay $3.50 for their first 60,000 barrels, then $16 for any barrels over that number – a savings of $2 per barrel, as the previous rate was $18.

This measure in the bill will benefit all breweries and craft beer importers, but will especially allow for smaller craft breweries to use the savings to invest and grow their businesses. A national trade organization for the beer industry, the Brewer’s Institute, estimates that the savings produced from this tax reform could generate up to 320 million dollars of annual economic growth within the beer industry.

The beer industry is not the only one to benefit from this bill. Wine and spirits producers and importers are also celebrating the recent enactment. Wineries will receive a $1 credit per gallon for their first 30,000 gallons made, $0.90 for the next 100,000, and $0.535 for the next 620,000. Wineries making more than 750,000 gallons will pay the full tax rate on everything over that amount. Additionally, in the bill there is a provision to increase the alcohol level at which a wine can be taxed as table wine – $1.07 per gallon. Currently, wines exceeding 14% ABV are taxed at $1.57 per gallon. The beverage act would increase that threshold to 16%, making higher alcohol wines taxable at the $1.07 tax rate. The provision also allows for certain lower alcohol wines (below 8.5% ABV) to have increased carbonation. Both of these provisions apply to domestically produced and imported wines.

For distilled spirits, the tax rate will drop from $13.50 to $2.70 for the first 100,000 proof gallons produced or imported. For all proof gallons above 100,000 but less than 22,130,000, the tax rate will become $13.34, and for amounts greater than 22,130,000, the tax rate will be $13.50. Both of these reductions will allow for wineries and distilleries to re-invest in their businesses and stimulate production and job growth within their regions.

While alcohol producers and importers are excited about this change, they also know that it may be short lived. The measure in the bill will expire after two years, and may be eligible for extension. For now, those in the industry plan to buckle down and take advantage of this savings opportunity.

For qualifying importers, CBP/Customs and Border Protection and brokerage software providers will work through the needed adjustments, and the expectation is that any tax payments made at pre-tax bill rates would be reclassified retroactively and refunds will be processed. Likewise, for our clients, we will work with you to streamline the changes in recordkeeping that this tax form brings, and we will keep you informed of any updates regarding the bill in the future. As of now, CBP (Customs and Border Protection) has not received any new protocols for handling collection of taxes, nor has the system been updated to accommodate the changes. We also have many questions in regards to the eligibility by producer, assignment of importer, and other items that we are investigating. We are gathering questions from our members and working on a list of FAQs to post to our website.  Please send us any question or concerns you may have and we will add them to the list.

For a more in-depth summary of the bill, please visit the attached committee report and navigate the pages 519-531.

ELD Implementation

December 18, 2017

Phase-In Compliance Begins Today – December 18, 2017

The electronic logging device (ELD) rule Phase 2 starts today. The ELD rule is part of MAP-21, a congressionally mandated bill that is intended to help create a safer work environment for truck drivers. MAP-21 mandates electronic logging to track, manage, and share records of duty status for all truck drivers. An ELD device synchronizes with a vehicle’s engine to automatically record driving time, thus accurately tracking hours of service. December 18, 2017, marks the two-year-phased implementation timeline to give drivers and carriers time to comply. Mandatory use of ELDs will be fully enforced by December 16, 2019. Below, please find a flyer outlining the new rule and its possible impacts:

ELD Implementation Flyer

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time.

Notice for USA Importers

December 8, 2017

U.S. Customs and Border Protection to Increase
Merchandise Processing Fee

The Merchandise Processing Fee (better known by the acronym MPF) is a user fee collected by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to cover fees associated with the process of importing merchandise into the U.S. and to monitor customs and trade compliance.  It has been in place since 1986, and the last increase was in October 2011. The MPF is an ad valorem (according to value) charge of 0.3464% of the entered value and this rate is not changing.  What is changing is the minimum and maximum amounts charged.  The majority of wine and spirits imports fall into the “formal” entry category and the minimum is going up from $25.00 to $25.67 and the maximum charge is going up from $485.00 to $497.99.

To give you an example of the MPF charge, a shipment with a transaction value (purchased price) of $50,000.00 would incur an MPF of $173.20 and is not subject to any change from the current assessment as it is above the minimum fee and below the maximum.  Please let us know if you have any questions on this upcoming change. The implementation date of the change is January 1, 2018. Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.

WSSA's Fall/Winter Newsletter 2017

November 30, 2017​

Fall/Winter 2017 Issue of Grapevine 
is Now Available!
Volume 7, Issue 2 of the WSSA Grapevine is now available!

Our Fall/Winter 2017 issue features the latest news on the changing face of the ocean carrier world, a look at the future of the industry with Trump, along with some cargo loss prevention tips and a glimpse at how WSSA celebrated our 40th anniversary throughout the year!
Click here for instant access to WSSA’s Fall/Winter 2017 edition of Grapevine!

WSSA's Winter Wine Program 2017-2018

November 8, 2017

Trucking Companies Upcoming Strike in Italy 

October 25, 2017

WSSA has learned that Italian trucking companies have announced they will strike Monday, October 30th and Tuesday, October 31st.  If the strikes do indeed happen, it is important to be aware that the positioning of containers might be affected on these days causing potential delays to shipments.

Strikes are somewhat of a reality in Italy and for this reason people are usually informed about them in advance so they can plan accordingly.

As always, WSSA will stay on top of this situation and keep you informed of any changes to the strike schedule as well as any disruptions and/or delays that might occur. Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding specific containers/shipments.

Ports and Cargo Terminals Begin to Reopen

September 13, 2017

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, most of the Southeast ports are beginning to reopen.  Port Miami, Port Everglades, Port Tampa Bay and Port of Charleston reopened yesterday, September 12th.  The US Coast Guard and the Georgia Ports Authority also reopened Port Savannah as of this morning.

Although the reopening of ports is great news for the US Southeast supply chain, there were concerns as to when cargo/container terminals would follow the lead and reopen as well. Folks are anxious for schedules to resume and shipments to get back on track. Thankfully, Florida container terminals Seaboard Marine, SFTC and POMTOC announced that as of 8:00am EST, this morning, they began discharging containers. They also declared that loading of containers to multiple destinations will commence today as well.

Port of Charleston was able to reopen yesterday as they reported that they avoided significant impact from Irma.  All gates and terminals in Charleston resumed normal operational hours today. Port Savannah also stated that their Garden City and Ocean City terminals would resume normal operational hours as of 6:00am EST Wednesday.

It is still in the early stages of recovering from Hurricane Irma, but with container terminals and ports beginning to reopen, the US Coast Guard and port officials remain optimistic in their efforts in continuing to get all ports/terminals back up to running to their full capacity.

As always port and terminal updates can be found:

We continue to keep our thoughts with all who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey and Irma and we are here to help in any way we can.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding your shipments.

Florida and the US Southeast Coast Brace for Hurricane Irma

September 7, 2017

Following on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, Irma will once again test the supply chain on the US Southeast Coast, as well as the Gulf Coast.  According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Irma, a classic Atlantic tropical storm, has sustained Category 5 cyclone status for nearly 2 days. It is the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic basin outside of the Caribbean Sea & Gulf of Mexico and it will bring with it strong winds of more than 180 mph, storm surge and potential flooding. If Irma makes landfall as predicted, it will set a new record; the US has never experienced two storms of this magnitude within one hurricane season.

As of Wednesday, the US Coast Guard notified the Port of Miami, Port of Everglades, the Port of Palm Beach in South Florida, as well as Port Canaveral, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Manatee, Jacksonville and Fernandina that port condition WHISKEY will go into effect. The condition was set due to the expected gale winds of 25pmh to 40mph arriving within next 72 hours.  Commercial vessels and barges greater than 500 gross tons need to report to the US Coast Guard Captain at the port with their intention to depart or remain in port.  Along with this, the Coast Guard has advised any vessels bound for any South Florida ports unable to depart in the next 24 hours prior to these winds making landfall that these vessels should seek alternate destinations, as vessels are already changing routes and schedules ahead of the storm.

This morning, port officials at Port of Miami advised that the port offices remain open while it continues to monitor the storm system. However, terminal gates at POMTOC and SFTC are closed while Seaboard Marine remains open, receiving containers only. Cargo users are asked to contact Port of Miami’s container terminals directly to check on schedules and closures:

The Albatrans office in Miami will be closed today to allow employees to safely evacuate in anticipation of the storm and the NY headquarters office will be receiving all calls for Miami business.

We will continue to track and monitor Hurricane Irma’s arrival and the effects to all US Southeast ports. Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding specific containers/shipments.

Impact of Harvey Continues to Effect Texas Ports

August 31, 2017

Days after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on the U.S. Gulf Coast, Texas ports are still working on getting reopened. Task force officials, headed by the Coast Guard, are in the beginning stages of assessing the conditions of the ports to determine what needs to be done before vessels can begin returning to the ports.  As of Wednesday, the ports of Houston, Texas City, Galveston, Corpus Christi and Freeport were reopened for some vessel traffic including tugs and barges, but not without restrictions, and traffic is only allowed during daylight hours.  Deep-draft ships are still prohibited in all ports.

The Port of Houston, which oversees two thirds of U.S. Gulf container traffic, including 40-50 vessels going in and out every single day, is hoping to be up and running fully by September 4th. One of the biggest concerns causing the delays is the tremendous amount of water which is being dumped into the channel.  It is estimated that 20 trillion gallons of water has been brought on by Hurricane Harvey.

Port officials said they are taking it one day at time in hopes that the reopening of container terminals and warehouses can be fully functioning sooner rather than later, to avoid further interruption to shipments and port operations.  Steamship lines that were able to avoid the Houston ports before the storm hit, have begun rerouting vessels to other ports, but with the majority of the Texas ports still shutdown and/or not running to full capacity and no set date for resuming of regular schedules, customers have been warned that cargo shipments could see substantial delays.

The Journal of Commerce continues to update a helpful resource list that includes updates from logistics companies and transportation companies.

As always, if you any questions/concerns regarding your shipments in that area please, email us!

COSCO Takes Over OOCL Shipping Lines

July 27, 2017

After months of rumors, last week Cosco and Shanghi International Port Grp. (SIPG) put in an offer to acquire Orient Overseas International Grp (OOIL) and their container shipping line OOCL. If and when the two companies combine, Cosco plans to hold 90.1% of OOIL’s shares, while SIPG will hold the remaining 9.9% of the shares. OOIL and OOCL are known to be a well run company, and a trusted brand with substantial profits. The container line OOCL has a fleet of 66 vessels, with an estimated teu capacity of 440,000. With the combination of OOLC’s fleet and Coscos fleet of about 550 vessels, Cosco will become the third largest container shipping company in the world.
To read more about the potential merger, click here. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!

Traffic Mitigation Fees Increase in California Ports!

July 11, 2017

As of July 1st, 2017, long-shore wage and assessment rates have a combined increase of 2.3% at the Ports of LA/LB. To match these adjustments, the West Coast MTO Agreement announced that the Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF) at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will also increase by 2.3%, taking effect on August 1st, 2017.

Beginning August 1st, the TMF will be $72.09 per TEU or $144.18 per forty-foot container. This charge will only be on containers that are moved on weekdays, between 3:00am and 6:00pm. For containers moved during OffPeak shifts (6:00pm to 3:00am on weekdays or 8:00am to 5:00pm on Saturdays), there will not be a TMF.

The use of OffPeak is intended to allow regular night and Saturday work shifts to handle the moving of containers via trucking at the 13 container terminals in the two adjacent ports. The OffPeak program was launched by PierPass in 2005, with the intent to reduce cargo-related congestion and air pollution on roads around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. PierPass is a not-for-profit company created by marine terminal operators at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach to address multi-terminal issues. PeirPass implemented TMF to help offset the cost of operating extended gate hours, leading to a reduction in labor costs. This fee is used as an incentive for cargo owners to use the OffPeak shifts to avoid TMF, as a result nearly half of all port truck trips presently take place during the OffPeak shifts.

According to an analysis by maritime industry consultants SC Analytics, in 2016 it cost the terminals $224.7 million to operate the OffPeak program. As a result of TMF, the terminals received $182.7 million that year, offsetting about 81% of the program’s costs.

Issues have been brought up in regards to the OffPeak program. The incurred issues include unjustified rate increases, gate operation inconsistencies, and PiersPass’s lack of correlation between the gate charge during the day versus during night operations.

We will continue to keep you informed of industry changes such as this one. If you have any questions, please contact us!  For more information about PeirPass, please visit their website.

Progress is Made with Spain Stevedores

June 30, 2017

Following the events involving the Spain stevedores union last week, 46 port companies decided to leave the ANESCO employers’ association. The companies signed a private agreement with the stevedores union, leading to the resignation of ANESCO’s president, Mr. Joaquim Coello, on Wednesday.
Yesterday, representatives of the “new” ANESCO met with representatives of the stevedores union and finally accepted their conditions. After the meeting, representatives of the union called off the remaining scheduled strike days.
Last week, the main Spanish ports/terminals were said to be operating normally. The congestion that resulted from the strike has been clearing up for both dry and refrigerated cargo. With this, Spanish ports are now accepting reefer containers again.
With the new agreements, the stevedores are expected to stop striking for at least the next three months. Negotiations for the 5th framework agreement for the Spanish stevedore sector will begin next week, but is not expected to be finalized until the end of September.
We will continue to keep you up to date on this matter. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!

ILA Possible Port Shutdown & March on Washington

March 1, 2017

Members of the International Longshoreman’s Association, from Maine to Texas are calling for a shutdown of ports along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.

In a press release, the union called for a “shut down of ports along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and a march on Washington to protest job loss and the resulting negative impacts on America’s economy. The planned daylong protest in Washington will highlight hiring practices in some of the nation’s ports that purposely reduce the numbers of dockworkers, causing immeasurable damage to the nation’s economy.”

The date of the shutdown and march has not been announced, but word is expected next week.  We will keep our members informed of the situation and will pass along any updates as soon as they are available.

Additional Credit:  American Shipper, Chris Dupin; JOC, Joseph Bonney

Stevedores Strike at Spanish Ports

February 8, 2017

Our offices in Spain have recently advised us of issues occuring at the ports of Barcelona and Valencia. Specifically, the longshoremen at main terminals have slowed down their productivity, causing vessel operations delays as well as long wait times to pick up/deliver containers at the terminals. Now, there has been an official announcement of a Stevedoring Strike that will affect all the Spanish ports on February 20th, 22nd, and 24th.

The strike is to manifest the longshoremen’s non-conformity with the draft Royal Decree Law that the government of Spain is preparing, which will change the current working conditions of the stowage sector.

Fortunately, the official stoppage will be partial; on strike days the stevedores will be working one hour on and one hour off.

However, the slowing of port operations has already begun, and some vessels have already cancelled their calls to Spanish ports due to congestion. It is predictable that this situation will worsen in the coming weeks.

Chilean Customs Workers Strike

January 12, 2017

Our office in Chile has just informed us of a strike held by Chilean Customs workers beginning immediately and lasting through tomorrow. The Customs workers are waiting for an answer from the Chilean government on their request to receive a salary increase.

Please be aware that the strike could affect the normal flow of goods into and out of the ports. However, we are working with our contacts in Chile to mitigate any delays that may occur due to the strike.
We will keep you informed of any changes to this situation. If you have any questions or concerns about cargo movement, please feel free to contact us.

New Zealand Earthquake Port Operations Update

December 12, 2016

Our New Zealand office has sent us the below update on port operations following last month’s earthquake. Please see details below and feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about the movement of your cargo.

Wellington port still remains closed. As a result of the damage to the railway line some shipping lines are having difficulty repositioning their empty containers to Nelson and Blenheim ports. Additionally, there have been increased volumes from the region as many of the exporters want their tanks emptied. Containers are becoming scarce, primarily in the Marlborough region (Blenheim/Nelson).

We are working closely with our carrier partners to reposition equipment and getting daily updates as to availability of containers. Obviously, no freight is moving out of Wellington, thus we are moving cargo via Nelson and Tauranga accordingly. Please note that there may be delays, and send in your orders as early as possible so we can gain as much notice as possible for export bookings from Nelson and Blenheim. If there are deadlines to meet, please inform us in advance so we can do our best to accommodate!

Please contact WSSA or your local Albatrans office should you have any questions or need updates on specific shipments.

New Zealand Earthquake Impacts Cargo Flow

November 20, 2016

New Zealand’s South Island was hit by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake just after midnight Sunday. The earthquake left some ports and rail systems damaged, forcing logistics slowdowns until structural checks are completed and damages repaired.

Our New Zealand office is reporting the following transport conditions:

  • Wellington – The port and depot are closed while damage assessments are taking place. Large parts of the city are without power, and it is anticipated that the port will remain closed for several days.
  • Lyttelton – Port and depot are fully operational.
  • Timaru – Port and depot are fully operational.
  • Nelson – Port and depot are fully operational.
  • Large parts of the rail network from Palmerston North to Christchurch will be closed while KiwiRail undertake routine checks of tracks and bridges. For latest updates, please click here.
  • State Highway 1 between Blenheim and Waipara is closed and is not expected to open for two days.

Many warehouses, trucking companies, and exporters throughout the South Island and in Wellington will not be able to resume work until structural checks are completed and power is restored. We are working hard with our New Zealand office to make sure delays are mitigated and cargo flow is as unhindered as possible during this restoration period.

We will keep you updated on this situation. As always, please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Hanjin Struggles Continue

October 13, 2016

WSSA continues to monitor the Hanjin bankruptcy situation. Fortunately, our customers have had minimal exposure as we utilized Hanjin on a very limited basis due to the weak financial reports over the last year. While it is hard to predict if other steamship lines will follow the path of Hanjin, we continue our tactics of spreading our volumes and monitoring the financial health of our carriers.  Should you have cargo caught in the Hanjin debacle, we are happy to assist in providing information or guidance if needed.

In the meantime, the ongoing Hanjin bankruptcy crisis continues to cause anxiety and frustration within the shipping industry. Currently, the steamship line is being pressured by chassis, container, and fuel providers to release information regarding the providers’ leased equipment still on the vessels. Some creditors are concerned that the Hanjin vessels will become compromised before they can exercise their lien rights on the stranded equipment.

Recently, Hanjin was able to give cargo owners a better idea of when certain stranded vessels will be released to discharge cargo, but progress is still slow in coming. Since the steamship line filed Chapter 15 bankruptcy, cargo owners have pushed to redeem their stranded cargo from terminals around the US. With loss and damage amounts mounting, the industry is eager to resolve this crisis and recoup their stranded equipment from the carrier.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the Hanjin crisis and we would be happy to advise.

Hanjin Bankruptcy Struggles Continue

September 21, 2016

Still reeling from the impact of the world’s seventh-largest shipping line collapse, shippers and cargo owners are struggling to recover. With close to half a million containers stuck on the water and ports refusing Hanjin vessel calls, progress to resolve the situation seems slow in coming. Hanjin filed for bankruptcy protection August 31st, however they did so in South Korea, which does not provide globalized protection. While they are in the process of filing for bankruptcy protection in all other locations where the container line operates, it is a race to avoid creditors from seizing their ships.

To resolve this crisis, the steamship line has turned to the South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and has issued a plan to rescue the stranded vessels and the $14 billion dollars in goods containerized on board. The plan involves Hanjin’s parent company, The Hanjin Group, doling out over $100 million dollars to retrieve cargo from the stranded vessels. However, with the South Korean government refusing to bail out the shipping line, it appears that liquidation is a likely outcome. Hanjin has issued an apology statement declaring, “We offer our deep apologies for the damages inflicted on many parties following our decision to apply for court protection,” South Korea’s largest container line said. “We will do our best to resolve the matter to remove the distress caused to the parties concerned.”

We are working closely with our offices around the world to handle this predicament with as little disruption as possible. We will keep you informed of the situation as we watch how the carrier’s actions play out.

In our upcoming newsletter, we offer more advice and information on managing your exposure when a steamship line declared bankruptcy.   Please feel free to contact us should you need any immediate information or assistance.

For more information, please see attached JOC article.

Manage Your Risk During the Hanjin Shipping Bankruptcy

September 6, 2016

Both of the Korean steamship lines have been suffering financial difficulties over the last year. The latest reports indicated positive developments for both Hyundai Merchant Marine and Hanjin Shipping, but the last couple of days have seen Hanjin fall off the cliff. Hanjin’s announcement that it has filed for receivership has left the shipping industry in disarray. Hanjin customers are dealing with the repercussions, realizing they will not be receiving their cargo until the terminals and other operators get paid, and these amounts are not yet specified. Ports around the United States have either blocked the Hanjin vessels from entering the port, are and are refusing to accept any bookings on their vessels. 

If WSSA is insuring your cargo, you can rest assured that

our policy includes the clauses necessary to cover claims

based on the Hanjin situation.

Please contact us if you do have any questions on the insurance coverage or potential exposure and we will be happy to assist.

Below is an excerpt from American Shipper magazine, by Chris Dupn, September 1, 2016:

Shippers – both the customers of Hanjin and its alliance partners, COSCO, “K” Line, Yang Ming and Evergreen Line, are scrambling to find out what will happen to their cargo if it is on a Hanjin vessel.

Don Pisano, the president of American Coffee Corp. and chairman of the Ocean Transportation Committee of the National Industrial Transportation League, said the league is monitoring Hanjin’s financial collapse, which would be the largest container line bankruptcy to date and would have a significant impact on the league’s members and shippers worldwide. “With nearly 100 ships operating in 74 routes in the liner trade, along with marine terminals and bulk operations, even those that have never shipped with Hanjin may feel the effects as services are disrupted and capacity tightened further than the already reduced deployments, which carriers have self- imposed to support higher freight rates,” Piano said.

“While everyone will look to minimize their risks and financial exposures, the fact is that the cargo has to move and get delivered to its intended destination as safely and expeditiously as possible,” Pisano said. “It is a bit early in the process and we are calling on all parties to work together to minimize the impact of this situation, use their available resources to protect the cargo, facilitate the movements and mitigate the costs, which will be borne by all.”

Peter Friedmann, the executive director of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC), said, “So much is at stake here. Perishable products cannot withstand delay in release of containers that inevitably follows from a bankruptcy action. And even for non perishables, the foreign buyers have the right to get out of their commitments if the delivery is not timely. While ownership and obligations are being sorted out, who is monitoring the reefer gensets?  And even if the railroad or terminal will release a container, they may only do so after their receivables from Hanjin are paid, even if Hanjin has already been fully paid by the shipper,” Friedmann said. “The complexity of these matters is significant, and if Hanjin goes completely out, it will be the largest bankruptcy of a container line since the beginning of containerization, making the complexity even greater, even unprecedented. We are providing as much guidance as possible to our AgTC members, including having provided early warning ahead of the bankruptcy declaration.”

Jonathan Gold, vice president, supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation, said, “Retailers’ main concern is that there is millions of dollars worth of merchandise that needs to be on store shelves that could be impacted by this. Some of it is sitting in Asia waiting to be loaded on ships, some is already aboard ships out on the ocean and some is sitting on U.S. docks waiting to be picked up. It is understandable that port terminal operators, railroads, trucking companies and others don’t want to do work for Hanjin if they are concerned they won’t get paid. However, we need all parties to work together to find solutions to move this cargo so it does not have a broader impact on the economy.”

Gold added, “There are more questions than answers at this point, but retailers are working to get all issues addressed. Retailers are working with all of their service providers to find ways to get their cargo moving to ensure that there is no or limited interruption in the supply of merchandise.”

NRF noted the Hanjin bankruptcy comes as the Global Port Tracker report published by NRF and Hackett Associates forecasted that major U.S. retail container ports will handle 1.61 million TEUs this month, down 0.6 percent from the same month last year.

Hanjin ships and cargo have been turned away from ports around the world.

A Hanjin spokeswoman told American Shipper that, “It has been reported in Korean media that Hanjin vessels were declined to enter container terminals in Xiamen and Xingang, China; Prince Rupert, Canada; Valencia, Spain; Savannah, Georgia; and Busan, Korea.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the Port of Virginia said it will “not be accepting any inbound Hanjin cargo (freight for export) at any of the port’s marine or intermodal terminals. The port, however, will accept empty Hanjin containers at the PPCY (Pinners Point Container Yard)”

It was not clear what would happen to Hanjin freight arriving by ship. The port added it is “developing plans for how to handle Hanjin cargo that is already on-terminal.”

The Port of Prince Rupert said Wednesday morning that the container vessel Hanjin Scarlet is not presently being handled or worked at the port’s Fairview Container Terminal, which is operated by DP World. Following the Hanjin Scarlet’s arrival Tuesday evening, the vessel proceeded directly to an assigned anchorage, the port added.

In a statement Tuesday night, Canadian National Railway said, “All Hanjin import containers will be released for pickup. This includes Hanjin containers on ground at CN inland terminals as well as containers currently moving on the CN network to CN destination terminals. There will be no storage charges for these boxes. All Hanjin export units currently at CN inland terminals will not be loaded onto trains and can be picked up from the CN origin terminal. There will be no storage charges for these boxes.”

The Hanjin spokeswoman said Hanjin Rome has been arrested in Singapore and that operation of a Hanjin vessel in Busan New Port was stopped.

One Month Into SOLAS

One month after SOLAS was officially implemented on July 1st, the entire industry is breathing a sigh of relief that the much-feared disruptions and issues associated with the regulation never came to fruition. However, the new rule has not been without its frustrations.

Our reports from overseas offices include some confusion as to who pays for scaling and whether any VGM related charge is tied to INCOterms. Some carriers are attempting to tack on unjustified VGM charges under vague words like “administration fees” or “services.” We will work with our carriers to contest and prevent additional surcharges. On the USA export side, industry groups have weighed in on the issue by requesting that the FMC step in and head off any charges relating to SOLAS, just as they did with the congestion surcharges in the West Coast last year.

While these issues sort themselves out, whether or not this rule will be successful in improving maritime safety is still up in the air. As Mark Szakonyi of the JOC reports, “only a few countries…are double-checking the accuracy of VGMs, meaning the success of the rule in cracking down on misdeclared weights rests on how honest shippers are and whether carriers will look the other way if they suspect inaccuracies.”



SOLAS Update on Eve of Implementation

As the global shipping community begins to transmit VGM information to steamship lines, questions and concerns remain as to the process and the enforcement. We are entering the 90 day transition period where there remains some flexibility available in methodology and enforcement as all countries adapt to the new rules.

The IMO issued a statement in early June, indicating that he three-month aim has two purpose. First, it permits packed containers that are loaded on a ship before the July 1 deadline and are transshipped on or after July 1 to be shipped to their final port without a declaration of their verified gross mass, or VGM. Additionally, the transition period also will aid member states by “providing flexibility to all the stakeholders in containerized transport to refine, if necessary, procedures for documenting, communicating and sharing VGM information.”

Some countries have issued strict compliance requirements, such as Canada, England, and Japan, while other countries such as France have announced that they will implement the 90 day transition period. WSSA is happy to answer any questions or provide specific information on how origin countries are handling the VGM process. Our forwarding partner, Albatrans, is fully equipped and committed to assisting all shippers with the required forms, advising on the VGM methods, and supplying scaling services when needed.

From the USA side, press releases today provide relief to exporters as most steamship lines are agreeing to utilize the weights provided by the marine terminal operators as the necessary VGM, thus exporters will not need to provide the certification.

This is all a work in progress and updates are happening moment by moment, country by country.

Below please find a link to the expanded FAQs provided on the World Shipping Council website.

Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions or need any specific information for your specific trade lane.


Port of Oakland Implements its "Extended Gate Fee"  

June 24, 2016

As anyone using the Port of Oakland knows, the terminals have been a mess with congestion and delays. The port is making an effort to improve the situation, and has been testing extended gate hours. While there have been mixed reviews on the results of the first test, with many customers of the port indicating that there is less traffic and shorter lines at the terminals at night, but that once inside the terminal, the delays are worse. However, we are supportive of the continuation of night gates to try to mitigate the congestion, and the next phase of the test is starting next week.

The Port of Oakland is implementing its Extended Gate Fee of $30 which will go into effect Monday June 27, 2016 and will apply to all import and export loads coming in and out of the terminal both shifts (day and night). This Extended Gate Fee is based on a 90-day TRIAL BASIS and will be further reviewed after that time.

This fee will finance the cost of full night operations at the port, which have helped to mitigate the congestion and delays of the daylight hours. Previously the night operations were financed by a Port subsidy which expires this month. “Thousands of cargo transactions have migrated to nighttime thanks to Oakland International Container Terminal,” said Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “It’s imperative that we continue with extended hours to expand the workday and improve cargo flow.”

For more information, please visit Press Releases page on the Port of Oakland website. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!




More News: SOLAS

March 3, 2016

Attached is an article that was published today in the Journal of Commerce that provides a thorough summary on the current status of the SOLAS roll-out. We realize that the lack of clear direction and the variety of implementation policies published by different countries makes it difficult to instruct your suppliers or plan for your exports. We are working with all of our global offices and carrier partners to ensure that we will be prepared and that our shippers will be prepared.

While the shipper is the responsible party to supply the VGM, the carriers will shoulder the burden of ensuring that the VGM (Verified Gross Mass) is received and the container admitted to the terminal. Verifying case weights and reporting cargo weight is currently common practice, and while the VGM process will add another step in the process, we will be prepared to fully implement the practice and assist all of our shippers.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you!

US Coast Guard: SOLAS container weight guidelines not mandatory
Greg Knowler, Senior Asia Editor | Mar 01, 2016 3:58PM EST
LONG BEACH, California — The SOLAS guidelines on container weight verification that will be implemented from July 1 are not mandatory, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Thomas told a packed TPM Conference here Tuesday. He clarified that the rule itself was mandatory.
“They are not mandatory under SOLAS, they are not mandatory under any U.S. regulation. It says that right on top — these are non-mandatory guidelines,” he said in a panel discussion on the verified gross mass rule.
"The guidelines in this case provide one path to compliance with the mandatory amendments, but it is not the only pathway and the guidelines themselves are not part of the mandatory SOLAS requirements," he said in an email after the panel.
As far as the Coast Guard was concerned, complying with the VGM rule was a business procedure issue. “SOLAS places no legal obligation on the shipper. It places a legal obligation only on the vessel subject to SOLAS. So if you need to meet that obligation by working on a better business practice with your partners, that’s where you need to focus,” Thomas said.
This was not well received by Christopher Koch, senior advisor and former CEO of the World Shipping Council, who said there was a distinction between commercial practice and regulatory compliance.
“The decision of what is required is not a matter for business discussion, it is not a business practice issue,” he said. “The Coast Guard’s position is that SOLAS regulation does not apply to shippers and require them to provide a signed VGM, and terminals are not required to enforce what the SOLAS regulation says.”
Koch called the Admiral’s comments a “stunning revelation,” considering the IMO guidelines were submitted by a working group shared by the U.S. Coast Guard, and in a paper co-sponsored by the U.S.
“It would have been far better if the U.S. Coast Guard had said this was their view at the time we were all working on this,” he said.
On July 1, a new international rule under the Safety of Life at Sea convention will come into effect, requiring shippers to present a signed cargo weight verification to ocean carriers prior to the containers being loaded a vessel. The rule has created huge uncertainty around the world with the governments of 162 signatories to SOLAS struggling to draw up guidelines on how their respective jurisdictions will police the rule.
It has become an increasingly acrimonious issue in the U.S. with shipper groups such as the Agriculture Transportation Coalition saying they are already in compliance and don’t plan to change the way they operate.
Donna Lemm, vice president of global sales for Mallory Alexander International Logistics and chairman of the AgTC SOLAS working group, said the SOLAS rule did not make a whole lot of sense.
“If the amendment goes ahead as we see it, including tare and no variance, this means total disruption to our agricultural activity,” she said. “But we are going to continue to do what we have been doing. We are going to our carriers to ask how we can work together.
“What we are talking about is continuing to build upon best practices on what we have been doing. As a shipping community, we are saying we are providing gross and net weights today, accurately and to our best ability. What we can’t afford is another VGM field, another EDI (electronic data interchange) program, another database, for information we are already providing,” she said.
One of the concerns Lemm raised was that shippers will be held responsible for the weight of the actual container, something the shipper had no control over. She said the carrier needed to provide the tare weight, not the shipper.
But Marc Bourdon, president of CMA CGM (Americas), said the shipper was not required to certify the weight of the container. “They are required to certify their cargo and the packing around the cargo, but will not have any liability for the tare,” he said.
Bourdon said any variability in the weight of the box would be insignificant, and it would be okay if a container was within a ton of the weight provided. Variations found were usually way above that. “So I don’t think the tare should be a focus to the extent that I am hearing.”
What was clear from the panel discussion is that complying with the SOLAS rule will be achieved through dialogue between the main players in the supply chain and through creativity, rather than trying to stick to the letter of the law.
For instance, Peter Friedman, executive director of AgTC, said the exporter was responsible for the cargo and the carrier for the container, so the carrier could marry those weights themselves without having the exporter weigh the container and provide the VGM.
Contact Greg Knowler at and follow him on Twitter: @greg_knowler.

Have You Seen Alison Leavitt's Contribution to the 2016 JOC Annual Review & Outlook?

February 11, 2016

Check out WSSA's Managing Director, Alison Leavitt, and her contribution to the Journal of Commerce 2016 Annual Review and Outlook!

Read Alison's analysis on key progressions within the shipping industry, and discover what is in store for the year 2016!

Alison Leavitt, Managing Director, Wine and Spirits Shippers Association

SOLAS: Global Container Weight Requirement

November 24, 2015


All exporters, importers, freight forwarders and carriers must prepare for the upcoming global regulation requiring every packed container to have a verified container weight prior to loading on a vessel. The international treaty mandated by SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and published by the World Shipping Council applies to all container shipments wherever loaded and will be effective July 1st, 2016. Overweight containers contributed to the MSC Napoli break up and subsequent beaching off the UK Coast in 2007, along with other vessel accidents. “The regulations place a requirement on the shipper of a packed container, regardless of who packed the container, to provide the container’s gross verified weight to the ocean carrier and port terminal representative sufficiently in advance of vessel loading to be used in the preparation of the ship stowage plan,” the World Shipping Council explained.


Steamship lines and terminal operators will be prohibited from loading a packed container on a vessel if the container does not have the verified weight. Carriers are working on revising freight flow and documentation software, and all countries with active ports are working on their own requirements. While it is an international treaty, there is not global enforcement requirements and every country may come up with different regulations. Some ports and terminals have enough scales to accommodate weighing each container at ingate, but others do not. Ultimately, the shipper is the listed responsible party, and the shipper can also be the freight forwarder/NVOCC.


For example, in the UK, the British Shippers Council is providing information on the options for shippers, including a registration and approval process by which the shipper will be granted a code valid for 3 years confirming that the shipper’s procedures have been inspected and approved by a recognized authority. If the shipper is not registered/approved, each container will be weighed at the loading or arrival port to verify the declared weights—a process that could create huge delays and congestion. We will keep you advised as the global regulations unfold, but at this time, be aware that this regulation is coming and start preparing for weight verification if you are a US Exporter, and advise your global suppliers!



If you have any questions about this new regulation, feel free to contact us. Also, look for more trade news in our upcoming edition of The WSSA Grapevine coming out soon!



Don't Miss Out!

March 23, 2015


Now is your chance! Check out WSSA's Managing Director, Alison Leavitt, and her contribution to the Journal of Commerce 2015 Annual Review and Outlook!   

Read Alison's analysis on key progressions within the shipping industry, and discover what is in store for the year 2015!  

Alison Leavitt, Managing Director, Wine and Spirits Shipping Association




Hours of Service Rule Changed!

December 10, 2014

In the midst of the negativity surrounding the West Coast congestion, some good news can be reported on the trucking industry. As the AgTC reports, the portion of the 34 hour restart rule that requires truckers to take two rest periods between 1am and 5am is being repealed. Doing this will allow truckers to travel unhindered when the roads are the least busy, and will also allow them to reset their weekly hours before 7 full days have passed.

This change could become effective as soon as this weekend, but will only remain in effect until September 30, 2015, unless Congress acts to make it permanent. For now, it is a step in the right direction.

Thank you to AgTC for providing us with this information!
West Coast Update
December 5, 2014

Congestion and delays remain the norm at the West Coast ports. The ILWU and PMA are in the negotiating room today, but we have no information on any progress they may have made. The ILWU leadership will convene in a caucus in San Francisco on December 15, and results will determine the next steps in the contract process. Please see the article published in the JOC for more detailed information on the process and the current pay scales of ILWU workers.

Congestion surcharges also remain in play, but the FMC is pressuring the steamship lines to avoid implementation of the surcharges. We will continue to report on this issue and will advise individual members as to the impact on upcoming arrivals

Thank you JOC for providing us with this information!

West Coast Issues & G6 Service Change

November 21, 2014



After announcing a surcharge and then suspending it, carriers are again announcing a congestion surcharge for cargo going into West Coast ports with an effective date based on gate-in at origin of November 26, 2014. The surcharge is again being questioned and examined by the FMC as they review the trigger mechanism and the undefined longevity. We are working with other trade groups to pressure the carriers to suspend the surcharge and will keep you all advised as the scenario is changing on a day to day basis.


In other news, the ILWU has announced that negotiations will be suspended through the end of Thanksgiving weekend despite resistance from the PMA and general retailers, manufacturers, farmers and consumers. The break in negotiations comes at a critical time in the U.S. economy, with the holidays coming just around the corner. Members of Congress have been made aware of the damaging effects of the work slow down, but at this point, Congress is staying away from any direct involvement in the process.


The G6 Alliance (APL, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Mitsui, NYK and OOCL) has announced that it will drop the European calls on the Pacific Atlantic 2 (PA2) service between the U.S. East Coast and Europe. The official announcement indicates that this is due to “seasonal changes in market demand”, but unofficial reports indicate that the cancellation is to mitigate deep losses and act as a cost savings measure. As the transatlantic to U.S. East Coast vessels continue to sail at full capacity, we will monitor the effects of this change and resulting constriction in space. Fortunately, we have a few weeks before the final sailing from Europe, planned for December 28 from Rotterdam.

We will continue to monitor these developments and will keep you updated accordingly.


Thank you to American Shipper for providing us with this information!

Congestion Surcharge Update

November 18, 2014

Currently, there is a great deal of confusion surrounding the congestion surcharge announcements made by ocean carriers for cargo coming into the West Coast. Unfortunately, answers are still elusive. The FMC posted a notice on Monday stating that any published tariff rule that increases costs to a shipper may not be effective until 30 days after publication. Consequently, most of the tariff rules implementing these congestion surcharges were published in May of this year. However, as the FMC stated, these tariff rules must be “clear and definite as to the implementation and termination of the surcharge.”

That very phrase is what FMC Chairman Mario Cordero is calling into question. The Journal of Commerce reports that, according to Cordero, the carriers citing “labor unrest” is not specific enough to justify the hefty congestion surcharges they are implementing. Currently, the FMC is reviewing whether there is a solid basis for the surcharges. Chairman Cordero is also convinced that these surcharges should not apply to cargo that is already in transit.

As far as when exactly these surcharges will be implemented, it differs by carrier. Already, some carriers have sent out notices revoking the surcharges.

We will do our best to work with carriers to mitigate these surcharges as much as possible for our members. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us by phone or email.

Thank you to FMC and JOC for this information!

Congestion Surcharge Announcement

November 14, 2014


Carriers are now announcing the implementation of congestion surcharges. The carriers filed the potential surcharges with the FMC in anticipation of labor disruption on the West Coast. As “disruption” was loosely defined, they have the legal right to implement the surcharges. The bad news is that most carriers are announcing the surcharges take effect on cargo discharging on or after November 17, 2014.

What can importers do about this? Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done to fight this, and it is unlikely that the FMC will take any steps to prevent implementation.

What can exporters do about this? Our only advice would be to hold bookings if possible, and wait it out.

The implementation of this charge will be messy as there are vessels waiting for a berth originally scheduled to discharge prior to November 17th. We will be monitoring closely and will keep you updated as the situation progresses.


Thank you to AgTC for this information!

Work Stoppage Concerns at Ports of LA/LB

November 6, 2014 

Work stoppage concerns are escalating at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as terminals continue to experience skilled labor shortages, specifically in the way of Rubber Tire Gantry (RTG) operators. These operators man the transtainers that pick containers and place them on truck chassis.

Terminals are reporting getting half to less-than-half of what they are ordering. Thus, more delays and congestion issues are created.

The following truck turn times show just how long it takes to get in and out of the ports:

Terminal                                                  Minutes


APL EAGLE MARINE TERMINAL                      91

CUT WEST                                                  103

TRAPAC TERMINAL                                      106

WEST BASIN TERMINAL                              120


We will continue to monitor this situation closely and do our best to avoid the delays and congestion for our members.

Tension Mounts Over ILWU Negotiations
November 4, 2014
Tension is building on the West Coast as the ILWU negotiations continue to drag on while the congestion issue worsens. Yesterday, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) issued a press release claiming that the ILWU is engaging in work slowdowns at the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma. Today the ILWU firmly denied the allegations calling them a "bold faced lie."

While this controversial exchange brought a setback to contract negotiations, the ILWU has announced that discussions will resume once again on Wednesday.

In good news, both parties have indicated they want to continue with the negotiations in good faith.

Special thanks to the Agriculture Transportation Coalition for this information!

Congress Expresses Concern Over West Coast Congestion
October 29, 2014

Members of Congress representing the Los Angeles and Long Beach area are putting pressure on the ILWU and marine terminals to speed up negotiations in order to finally allow the West Coast ports to return to normal operations.

While labor is one component of the problem, West Coast congestion can also be attributed to the chassis shortage and confusion, new mega-ships overloading terminals with containers, and PierPass, which contributes to trucker congestion. Nevertheless, it is still comforting to know that Congress is concerned about the issue as well.

Please click here to see the letter written by the Members of Congress.

Special thanks to the Agriculture Transportation Coalition for this information!
2M Alliance Approved
October 9,2014
Yesterday the Federal Maritime Commission approved the 2M alliance involving Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company. The vote outcome was four in favor and only one dissenting.
The one remaining obstacle the 2M alliance faces is the approval of Chinese regulators, as the alliance is already in compliance with the European Union and now has received the approval of U.S. regulators. The 2M alliance, if approved by all parties, is scheduled to take effect January 2015 and is projected to involve a total of 185 vessels and handle over 2.1 million TEUs.
Special thanks to the Journal of Commerce for providing us with this information!

Low Sulfur Fuel Mandates

October 3, 2014

Many of you have heard about the new requirements for low sulfur fuel, and we have seen some small surcharges implemented in the last year.  In 2015, however, all sources are indicating more significant increases are coming.   Beginning January 1, 2015, a new low-sulfur fuel mandate implemented by the International Maritime Organization will go into effect. This mandate is in an effort to reduce sulfur emissions in the Emission Control Areas (ECAs) designated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. As of the beginning of next year, vessels operating within the North American ECAs and parts of North Europe (including the Baltic Sea, North Sea, and the English Channel) will have to reduce their sulfur emissions from 1 percent to .1 percent.   

These new restrictions will come with a significant cost increase for shippers. Because fuel with a sulfur content of .1 percent is much more expensive than fuel comprised of 1 percent sulfur, shipping lines are planning to raise their charges to cover the extra costs.  Steamship lines have announced charges that could run as high as $185 per TEU for cargo moving to the USA from Europe.   At WSSA, we will work closely with our carriers to mitigate these increases and will keep you closely advised as to the forthcoming changes.


FMC Public Forum Recap 2014

September 19, 2014

The FMC Public Forum took place recently at the Port of Los Angeles. The following points provide a recap and outline the issues that were presented and discussed at the forum.


  • Large ships are here and even larger ones will be here soon.
  • Not enough chassis and a lack of control of the existing chassis – Pool managers are constantly moving chassis at the expense of leasing companies.
  • Lack of qualified mechanics to repair bad order chassis.
  • Long turn times – 22% of turn times now are over 2 hours.
  • Driver shortage – no new drivers are entering the trucking industry, and those not making money are exiting.
  • Repositioning equipment is taking up much needed truck power.
  • New distribution centers and delivery points continue to move further from ports requiring more time for a driver to deliver.
  • Continually increasing fees will chase more cargo away from ports.

Proposed Solutions:

  • A grey chassis pool will reduce the repositioning of chassis and better provide a location for storage/access when and where needed.
  • Establish a common metric of an acceptable terminal turn time for all to agree upon and use as a standard or requirement.
    • Vancouver Port has a one and a half hour established metric, and terminals pay a penalty for detaining drivers past this time.
  • Appoint systems at all terminals to assist them in hiring adequate labor.
  • Free flow or peel-off piles for shippers with large container volumes on one ship (only applicable for shippers with 80 to 100 containers per vessel).
  • 24/7 operation at the port – this will allow drivers to gravitate to the less congested times and still be able to work their full hours of service.

Overall, the grey chassis pool was the solution that seemed the most viable and steps are being taken to turn the proposed solution into a reality.

Port Congestion and Driver Shortages

September 10, 2014

Congestion continues to be a persistent problem in ports all over the world. From Asia to Europe to the United States, larger ships are bringing in more containers and having to stay in port longer, creating congestion and delays. Although more containers are arriving, there are less and less truckers available to transport cargo to its final destination. North American ports like Los Angeles/Long Beach, New York/New Jersey, and Norfolk are especially feeling the effects of congestion and truck power shortages as evidenced by increasing dwell times and chassis shortages. Import container dwell times are averaging between 5 and 8 days depending on the port and whether the container is moving via truck or rail. 

We are working with our members to find solutions and mitigate the effects of the congestion and driver shortages. Whether it is juggling arrival ports to avoid the worst congestion, expanding our pool of trucking companies, arranging weekend deliveries, or working with our carriers to prioritize container movement, we will do our best to assist. Please be aware that certain carriers are charging demurrage and per diem charges even when they are responsible for doing the delivery, a sign that carriers are less willing to perform inland deliveries under the current conditions. To promote the dialogue and discussion of the causes and implications of port congestion, the Federal Maritime Commission is holding a public forum September 15, 2014, at the Port of Los Angeles. All members of the shipping industry are encouraged to attend. For more information on the forum, please see the attached link:
For more information on how shippers can deal with increasing congestion and driver shortages, refer to the following article:
For specific congestion issues per port, please see the attached announcement from Hapag-Lloyd:

Maher Terminals Open Saturday, March 1st

February 28, 2014

We have been notified that Maher Terminal and Chassis Depot will be open this Saturday, March 1st from 8am -4pm for truck line activity.  These extended hours are a result of efforts to help ease the continued congestion the terminal has been experiencing.  Please note that The Auxiliary Depot will NOT be open!

So far, this is the only terminal that has announced hours this weekend.  We will notify you if the situation changes.

Please contact your Albatrans Operations team at 718-917-6795 if you have any concerns about your shipments.

WSSA's 2014 Annual Outlook: What a Year for the Shipping Industry

February 25, 2014

"What a winter!"

In my 25 plus years in the shipping business, I have never witnessed the shipping snarls we have experienced this year. Snowstorms and frigid temperatures throughout the east and midwest have created massive delays due to port closures, equipment malfunctions, and driver and truck shortages. The succession of storms has created a domino effect and the backlogs just keep getting bigger. The west coast has fared better, but congestion in Oakland and Los Angeles/Long Beach has also been a big problem.     Everyone is scrambling to find trucks, and often paying more for alternative solutions.     We will continue to work with all of our members and assist in finding solutions and working closely with our carriers to mitigate delays and additional costs.  Spring will eventually be here and we can then start worrying about the west coast ILWU contract, set to expire at the end of June 2014. With the disruptions that have occurred in the last year at all west coast ports, we would expect further disruptions and a rough round of negotiations, so plan accordingly for this time period. As usual, we will keep you posted as to any new developments.
I am heading to Miami this week with colleagues from WSWA and NABI to meet with the Director of the U.S. Customs CEE (Center for Excellence and Expertise) covering Agricultural & Prepared Products.  The CEE's have been established by U.S. Customs for a wide variety of products from pharmaceuticals to automotive parts, with the mission to better facilitate trade, leveraging technology and industry expertise to improve facilitation with the various government agencies.  The Agricultural CEE is one of the final three centers being opened by CBP, bringing the total number to 10.  I look forward to learning more about what this CEE will be able to do for the wine and spirits community and will report back.  Should any of you have immediate concerns or issues with CBP or related agencies, please let me know.   

Following Miami, I will be traveling to South America in March and then to Europe in April to continue the practice of meeting with all of our carriers at origin and working toward best practices and competitive rates with all of our carrier partners.  With the new alliances being formed, it will be our challenge to monitor the effects of the alliances and achieve the right mix of carriers for our members.
As always, thank you for your support of WSSA!"
Alison Leavitt
Managing Director

More from WSSA's Managing Director in The Journal of Commerce's January 2014 Annual Outlook here!


More Terminal Updates

February 21, 2014

Please be advised, the New York Container Terminal (NYCT) will be open this Saturday, February 22, from 0800 to 1600 for import delivery and empty receiving. 

Also, due to the ongoing congestion, Maher Terminal is temporarily closed to all inbound traffic.  We will notify you if the situation changes.

Terminals Open This Saturday, 02/22

February 21, 2014

Please be advised, the Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT) will be open this Saturday, February 22, for import delivery and empty receiving.  *NOTE* PNCT will ONLY receive export cargo for the MSC Maya and MSC Federica.
In addition, Global Terminal will also be open to truckers from 0800 to 1600 for delivery of imports.
Please don't hesitate to contact your Albatrans Operations team at 718-917-6795 if you have any concerns about your shipments.

France Strike/Weather Conditions Disrupting Ports

February 12, 2014

Please note that French shipments maybe be experiencing delays due to both a one day strike and severe weather conditions.  The strike, the second this month, is in response to dockworkers protesting against port reform.  The severe weather conditions are due to strong winds from the Atlantic, which have delayed some vessels in Le Havre and also NE ports.
Please don't hesitate to contact your Albatrans Operations team at 718-917-6795 if you have any concerns about your shipments.

Extended Gate Hours & Port Closings

February 10, 2014

Please note that Maersk Line will be holding extended gate hours tomorrow, February 11th, at the APMT Port Elizabeth facility due to the continuous operational challenges that the Port of NY/NJ has been recently facing.  Furthermore, APMT Port Elizabeth, along with Maher Terminals and the Global Terminal will be open on Wednesday the 12th for normal operations.
Upcoming closings to note are APM Terminals, New York Container Terminal, Port Newark Containter Terminal and Red Hook Container Terminal, which all plan to be closed this Wednesday, the 12th in honor of Lincoln's birthday. Also, Monday, February 17th is President's Day and all terminals are scheduled to be closed.
As always, please contact your Albatrans Operations team at 718-917-6795 if you have any concerns about your shipments.

Nationwide Port Congestion

February 7, 2014

Many ports throughout the nation are experiencing huge volumes and extreme amounts of congestion, causing some of the worst delays the industry has seen in a long time! The Port of Oakland has truck lines that amount to one week delays, and Maher Terminals main gates have once again been closed due to heavy congestion.  In many instances, no traffic is allowed in until the volumes die down.  As always, please contact your Albatrans Operations team at 718-917-6795 if you have any concerns about your shipments.

Congestion Continues - East & West Ports

January 30, 2014

Ports on both US coasts are still experiencing high volumes of congestion.  Many trucks are still reporting long delays in recovering containers at the terminals out west, and there are still reports of congestion due to the continuous severe weather in the east.   As always, we will update you as we receive new information.
Please contact Albatrans Operations Team at 718-917-6795 if you have any questions or concerns regarding shipments that may be affected.

San Antonio, Chile Strike Back On

January 28, 2014

Unfortunately, the Chilean labor union strike resumed last night due to a breach of the agreement that had been met last Saturday, January 25th.  Currently, only the San Antonio Port is affected.  Please contact your Albatrans' Operation Team if you have any questions or concerns.  We will keep you informed of any updates.

Port Congestion at LA/Long Beach

January 24, 2014

Many truckers are reporting long delays in recovering containers at the terminals
in LA/Long Beach due to congestion.  The congestion seems to be the result of
holiday back logs, vessel bunching, and the larger volumes being discharged
from the mega ships.

Port of NY/NJ also remains congested due to backlogs from the closures due to continued severe weather in the east.

We will keep you advised should there be any further developments.

San Antonio, Chile Strike Update

January 21, 2014

Please see the below list of Chilean ports and their current operating status:
ARICA: Operating
IQUIQUE: ITI dockworkers on strike
ANTOFAGASTA: ATI dockworkers on strike
SAN ANTONIO: dockworkers on strike. STI & PCentral are now delivering import containers, but they aren't receiving export containers
SAN VICENTE: Dockworkers on strike
CORONEL: Dockworkers on strike
We will keep you informed on any further developments as they unfold.  If your container(s) had to be rolled to the next vessel due to this situation, Albatrans' Operation Team will notify you individually.

Update on San Antonio, Chile Port Strike

January 15, 2014

Please note the below ports that are still affected by the San Antonio, Chile port strike:

  • IQUIQUE: ITI dockworkers on strike
  • ANTOFAGASTA: ATI dockworkers on strike
  • SAN ANTONIO: dockworkers on strike (there are 8 vessels in San Antonio Bay waiting for berth)
  • SAN VICENTE: dockworkers on strike
  • CORONEL: dockworkers on strike

Any ports not mentioned are operating at normal conditions.  We will keep you informed on any further developments as they unfold.  If your container(s) had to be rolled to the next vessel due to this situation, Albatrans' Operation Team will notify you individually.

Severe Weather Notice

January 7, 2014

Please be advised the frigid cold temps in the Midwest and Northeast are affecting deliveries. There are many road closures and driver/truck shortages due to trucks not starting from the extraordinarily cold temperatures. 
Rail traffic has also been affected due to weather related issues and reports indicate the St. Lawrence Seaway is iced up, causing delays into the Port of Montreal.
Please contact Albatrans Operations Team at 718-917-6795 if you have any questions or concerns regarding shipments that may be affected.  

San Antonio, Chile Port Strike

January 3, 2014

We have just been informed that the workers at the Port of San Antonio in Chile are on strike today as of 3:30PM.
We are unsure how long the strike will last, but we expect it to have an effect on the port's operational procedures and would not be surprised if it delayed shipments. As always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact your Albatrans operations team.
We will keep you informed of any news regarding this issue.

Port Closures

January 3, 2014

Please note that both Conley Terminal at the Port of Boston and the Port of NY/NJ are closed today, January 3, due to winter storm 'Hercules'.
The ports are anticipated to reopen Monday, January 6th.  We will continue to keep you informed of any changes.

Weather Alert

January 2, 2014

The Port Authority of NY & NJ closed today due to winter storm conditions.  They will continue to be closed Friday, and hope to reopen for regular business on Monday morning, January 6.

Please contact Albatrans operations team if you have any questions or concerns regarding shipments that may be affected by this closing at 718-917-6795.

Update on Italian Trucking Strike

December 10, 2013

The current trucking strike in Italy is not officially over.  However, since this morning, Leghorn, La Spezia, and Naples ports are all fully operating. 
Also, conditions at Genoa are improving from yesterday, with all terminals open and operating.
We will continue to keep you updated as we get more information.

Today's Italian Trucking Strike

December 9, 2013

The Italian trucking strike scheduled for today, December 9th, is still taking place.  However, we are unaware of how long the strike will last and which unions are involved. 
Please make note that Genoa port is entirely blocked this morning. Also, La Spezia and Leghorn are not fully operating.
We will continue to keep you updated as we get more information.

Update on Italian Trucking Strike

December 5, 2013

The Italian trucking strike we had previously mentioned is still pending for the week of December 9-13.
The strike has only been confirmed by one union, so there is a possibility that the strike will be cancelled.  We will keep you updated as we get more information.

Chilean Customs Strike

December 2, 2013

Last week in Chile there was a national strike by the National Fiscal Employees Union (ANEF) from November 25th through the 29th regarding worker's job security.  Since then, agreements have been met between the ANEF and government and the strike has been resolved.  Please note that none of our shipments were affected during this conflict.

Italian Trucking Strike Announced

November 22, 2013

Please be advised that certain Italian unions have announced a trucking strike for December 9th through the 13th.  There are issues with the government's decision to limit the gasoline excise reimbursement as well as reductions to drivers' premiums.

If an agreement can be reached before the aforementioned dates, the strike will most likely be called off.  We will keep you posted if anything changes in the meantime.

Update on French Eco-Tax

October 29, 2013

We have received notice from Albatrans that the French government has decided to suspend implementation of the Eco-Tax.  There have been violent protests relating to the new tax, and the Prime Minister has agreed to postpone it in order to give time needed for nationwide discussion and negotiations relating to the issue.

Please note that the tax itself is NOT abrogated, and we will keep you informed of any future developments concerning the tax as they unfold.  However, one can expect that the tax will not be applicable as of January 1, 2014.

Potential French Strike

October 14, 2013

Albatrans International has reported that a strike is pending in France. Unions are striking in protest of new rail policies imposed by SNCF (the French railway company).
The strike schedule is as follows:
Oct 15th : Dock workers will go on strike
Oct 16th : Railway workers will go on strike
We will take steps to avoid any issues, pulling needed empty containers out of the terminal prior to any strike action, and scheduling loading and deliveries back to the ports appropriately. We will post further updates as soon as we have more information.

Information on upcoming French Eco-Tax

September 25, 2013

Most of you are aware of the French Eco-Tax, which was originally supposed to come into effect October 1, 2013, but has been postponed to January 1, 2014. This tax will negatively impact French transportation costs.

Please see some facts below to have a better understanding of the Eco-Tax:
• The tax will be implemented on the whole French territory, and all vehicles over 3.5 tons are concerned.
• The tax will cover 15,000 km network, 10,000 km of selected highway portions and national roads, and 5,000 km of a secondary (local) network.
• The average tax amount (the amount is assessed on the vehicle type) will be of 0.12 €/km (0.16 USD/km).
• Some regions will be discounted – Aquitaine (Bordeaux and the south west) region will be discounted 25%, and Brittany will be discounted 40%.
• The extra charges are inclusive of financial cost, since the tax has to be paid in advance. There will be about a 1.5 month gap to collect the tax from customers.

Attached is a map of the networks affected by the tax (orange accounts for highways and national roadways, and blue accounts for local networks).

We will continue to update you on this topic as more information unfolds.  Please contact us if you have any questions.


Massport Notice of Tariff Change

September 23, 2013

For those of our members who are shipping to the Port of Boston, please note the following:
On June 30, 2013, the Board of Massachusetts Port Authority voted to increase rates by approximately 3% in its Container Tariff No. 1, which applies to the Paul W. Conley Container Terminal.
The rate changes are effective October 1, 2013 and will be increased to $39/TEU and $52/FEU.
The above mentioned tariff can be found at the Board of Massachusetts Port Authority website at:

For any questions regarding this change, you may address Brad Wellock directly at 617-946-4435 or by email to

Chilean Customs Strike Canceled

September 12, 2013

The Chilean Customs strike for today, September 12, 2013, has been canceled. We have been informed that the Customs workers and Government representatives were able to reach an agreement.

We will continue to update you on any future information pertaining to this issue if needed.

Upcoming Chilean Customs Strike

September 10, 2013

The Chilean Customs has announced a strike for this Thursday, September 12, 2013 due to some unfulfilled demands by the Chilean government. Please note that the strike has an indefinite character and might delay your shipments if they are coming from this region.

We will provide you with more information as this conflict unfolds.

Andean Pass Update

August 27, 2013

Please be advised that the Andean pass was reopened today. Note that congestion is expected due to many trucks trying to cross.

Andean Pass Closed

August 23, 2013

The Andean Pass that connects Argentinian wine origins with Chile ports is closed today due to weather conditions. These poor winter conditions may continue through Sunday. We will keep you informed of any new developments.

Our partner, Albatrans, will notify all customers that are affected by this delay.


Disruption at the Port of Oakland

August 21, 2013

A key terminal at the Port of Oakland essentially stopped working on Monday/Tuesday this week, due to truckers complaints of work conditions. This morning, however, it seemed to be business as usual. The SSA Terminal opened with surprisingly little congestion and no disruption. You can see the Port of Oakland’s webcam of SSA’s inbound gate at

This is the third labor dispute causing work stoppage at Oakland since early July, and some service providers (not involved in the truck blockades) have reported that not all their drivers would go the port until it’s clear that labor issues have calmed down. The AgTC reported the following to its members late yesterday:

“The Port of Oakland is currently reporting that protesters have cleared away from all facilities, the ILWU has returned to work at SSA, and all terminals are fully operational."

“Another day of disruption in Oakland. First, we want to see the situation there calm down so that Oakland can be a dependable port for agriculture, once again. Longer term, we are concerned that the West Coast ILWU locals seem to be acting independently of their international HQ. We wonder how this will impact the ability to negotiate the new coast wide ILWU contract which expires in 10 months.”

Shipments arriving Oakland within the last few days may likely have been delayed. Please contact Alper Ozgulumser at Albatrans or your Customs Broker to determine the status of your shipment.

Low Water Surcharge

July 24, 2013

Hapag Lloyd will implement a “Low Water Surcharge” for all imports from Europe which discharge at Montreal, effective August 5, 2013.  The surcharge is US$ 100/20’ and $ 150/40’ containers.  We expect that all other shipping lines which transit the St. Lawrence Seaway to Montreal will impose a similar surcharge. (attached customer letter)

Montreal Low Water Surcharge

July 11, 2013

Hapag Lloyd advises us that Shipments via Montreal may incur a Low Water Surcharge in the foreseeable future. If conditions warrant, a Low Water Surcharge will be applied by all carriers sailing to Montreal, so we expect to see similar announcements by Maersk, MSC, OOCL, and others within the near future.
Hapag’s announcement is attached.

CBP ISF Enforcement

July 9, 2013

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has begun enforcement of the Importer Security Filing (ISF) rule, effective July 9, 2013.  This rule was first announced in 2009, so most importers and their Customs Brokers are already familiar with and following the required procedures. 

For new importers, or for those who would like to increase their familiarity with ISF, Avalon Risk Management has prepared an extensive listing of FAQ’s for your reference.  (Click here for FAQ's)

For specific questions, please contact Lisa Santiago at 718-989-6447 or  

If your Customs Broker is having difficulty with timely filings, “Web Merlin” is said to be provide the best automation package available for managing ISF compliance.  This program is used by the most sophisticated Customs Brokers, including Albatrans, Inc. 

ISF Enforcement

June 10, 2013

CBP will begin the next stage of enforcement of Importer Security Filing requirements, beginning July 9. The below article from American Shipper explains the background. For more specifics with regard to your imports, please check with your Customs Broker.
Damage collections for ISF non-compliance to begin

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin full enforcement of the Importer Security Filing requirement on July 9, the agency announced Friday.
On that date, the agency will begin to issue liquidated damages for ISF violations, such as filing incomplete, inaccurate or late documentation.
The ISF rule went into effect on Jan. 26, 2009, but for the first year the program had no sanctions so that shippers and carriers could learn how to collect and file the necessary data, develop software systems that could communicate with CBP, or farm out filing to customs brokers and other third parties.
CBP began enforcing the rule in January 2010. It has used its authority to place holds on containers with shipments that don't have documentation in order, typically upon arrival in the United States, and can order non-intrusive or full inspections of cargo if the ISF data indicates something might be amiss about a shipment, but to date has not issued any damage claims against filers.
For ocean carriers, CBP may refuse to grant a permit to unload the merchandise if they violate the vessel stow plan requirement.
CBP requires importers to submit 10 pieces of data, such as the name and location of the manufacturer, associated with international shipments moving by ocean container. The data must be electronically transmitted 24 hours prior to cargo loading on the vessel and carriers must subsequently provide their vessel stow plans and container status messages. The ISF rule is commonly referred to as "10+2" because of the two data sets required.
CBP originally said it would start issuing liquidated damages associated with ISF filing mistakes in the fourth quarter of 2010. Liquidated damages is a Customs term that means an importer or its agent failed to meet the conditions of a bond. They are technically different from penalties, which are issued in response to smuggling and other direct violations of law. The ISF rule allows for liquidated damages of $5,000 per violation, which could reach $10,000 on a shipment if amendments to the ISF are filed with errors.
The phased approach to enforcement was designed to minimize disruption to the trade community as it adapted to a new, complex security regime aimed at using advance data for targeting shipments with smuggled contraband or terrorist weapons.
CBP has stressed that every liquidated damage enforcement action instituted by a port will be reviewed by CBP headquarters personnel before being issued, according to a customer note from trade insurance broker Avalon Risk Management. - Eric Kulisch

Chile Ports Back to Work on Sunday, April 7

 April 8, 2013

Albatrans Chile has advised us that all Chilean ports resumed work just after noon on Sunday, April 7.  Issues which prompted the port strikes have been resolved.  However, last week’s strike took on a political aspect, so we can’t be sure that there won’t be any future strike actions as the Chileans get closer to their November presidential elections.

As you would expect, it will take a little while for San Antonio to resume full operating levels—but carriers are optimistic that this will be a very short period.  The private terminals at Valparaiso kept operating throughout the strikes, but were stretched beyond capacity by the end of last week.  Thus, Valparaiso will likewise take a short while to restore itself to normal operating efficiency.

For any questions relating to the status of pending or delayed orders, please contact Alper Ozgulumser at Albatrans ( or 718-917-6795). 

Strikes Shut Down Chilean Ports

April 4, 2013

Chilean ports began to go on strike last week, beginning with Puerto Angamos and quickly spreading to San Antonio. Early this week, dockworkers at the public section of the port of Valparaiso went on strike, and demonstrations planned for today are likely to choke activity in the private terminals at Valparaiso.
Key wine warehouses (including Albatrans’) are located at the port of San Antonio, which is used by carriers serving US ports such as CCNI, CSAV, Evergreen, Hamburg Süd, Maersk, and MSC. Until now, urgent warehouse shipments have been transferred to Valparaiso (only about 200 km north of San Antonio).
Although, the public terminals at Valparaiso have already gone on strike, the private terminals are still working. Carriers sailing from Valparaiso to the US are APL, Hapag Lloyd, MSC, MOL, and all carriers sailing to the US West Coast. While the private terminal of Valparaiso (operated by Ultramar) is technically open and working, today’s massive demonstration may limit or close that operation.
In short, expect that shipments will be delayed from Chile until further notice. Some knowledgeable Chilean sources anticipate that the strike will not continue much longer, as the original issues at Puerto Angamos seem to have been resolved. However, other equally knowledgeable sources are not optimistic—indicating that the nature of the strikes has become political, and that actions will be greatly influenced by the fact that both the political left and the right are posturing themselves for national elections in November.
We would like to offer a more optimistic prognosis, but when politics gets involved, anything can happen. Vessel operators are skipping San Antonio and cautious about calling at Valparaiso. Chilean sources have characterized this as “a mess” and a “near total collapse of Chilean ports."
At this point, WSSA and Albatrans are reviewing various contingency plans should the strike extend beyond early next week. Alper’s group at Albatrans will provide you with a status of pending orders and shipment statuses. 

ILA, NYSA Reach Tentative Agreement

March 7, 2013

A tentative agreement has been reached over local issues at the Port of NY/NJ.  This means that ILA's Wage Scale Delegates can make a vote recommendation on the master contract when they meet next week in Florida.

This is very encouraging news that the master contract will be ratified, and we can expect labor peace this year.

Journal of Commerce 2013 Annual Review & Outlook

March 5, 2013

We’re proud to say that WSSA’s Managing Director, Geoff Giovanetti, has been asked once again to comment in the Journal of Commerce’s Annual Review and Outlook edition.  Please click here to view the article.

Tentative Agreement on New ILA Contract!

February 4, 2013

The ILA and USMX have agreed on terms for their Master Contract covering Atlantic and Gulf ports.  This was announced late Friday in the attached press release from the federal mediators, and is subject to resolution of local issues and ratification by the ILA’s membership and by the USMX employers.

Left to resolve are local port issues, the most contentious of which seem to be at the Port of NY/NJ.  However, in the spirit of good faith negotiations, both parties have pledged to avoid work stoppages while they’re discussing these local issues.

Although all has not been resolved, this is truly comforting news.  Longshore work in the ports will continue after February 6, hopefully for a number of years.

Important ILA Contract Update

February 1, 2013

It’s February already, and we’re fast approaching another deadline for the ILA/USMX contract negotiations.  The contract has been extended twice, and now terminates at midnight,  February  6.  Not much news has been forthcoming, but updates on both the ILA and the USMX websites are optimistic.  Both sides, with the able help of federal mediators, seem to be diligently working on resolving their differences. 

The biggest remaining issues have to do with NY/NJ work practices, which have not been easy to resolve.  While it appears that talks on these local issues are continuing, and may result in a further extension of the contract deadline, the Port Authority of NY/NJ has announced that it will not accept any refrigerated exports for ships loading after February 6.

Peter Friedman summarized the significance of the NY/NJ local issues—to both labor and management—as follows: 

”The most difficult remaining issue in the negotiations relates to ILA work rules in New York-New Jersey, where the ILA is headquartered and employers say costs are by far the highest of any port along the coast.  Employers have said they are determined to use the current negotiations to address work rules and practices, some dating back decades, which hinder productivity and raise costs. Work rules which employers seek to change include extensive relief staffing that requires 15 or 16 longshoremen to be hired when only nine or 10 longshoremen are working at a time.
“According to the 2011-2012 annual report of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, which licenses dockworkers in the port of New York and New Jersey, 45 longshoremen make over $300,000 a year, with an additional 79 longshoremen making over $250,000 per year.”

It’s not known whether ILA labor at other Atlantic/Gulf ports, who earn less than their colleagues in NY/NJ, will strike to protect their NY/NJ brethren.  Historically, all US ILA ports have acted in solidarity.

I feel the two sides will continue talking even if all is not agreed by February 6.  However, there is a slight chance that there will be a work stoppage (does this sound like recent weather reports?), so it is prudent to make sure that all of your shipments are removed from the port area by February 6—at any US Atlantic/Gulf port.

If it is any comfort, the office workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach--the OCU—which struck for eight days in November, will vote on a new contract on February 6.  Approval should keep all West Coast ports open, even if the Atlantic/Gulf ports are closed.

Now, mark your calendars:  the ILWU (West Coast dockworkers’ union) contract expires in 17 months!  Are we up for more uncertainty?


ILA Contract Status

January 23, 2013

The ILA and the USMX (management) met last week and made progress on some tough issues, under the guidance of the federal mediators. George H Cohen, Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, made a formal but brief statement, saying,
“The United States Maritime Alliance and the International Longshoremen’s Association conducted negotiations during the three day period January 15-17, 2013. In these negotiations the parties made progress and have agreed that the negotiations will continue under our auspices. Due to the sensitivity of these negotiations, we will have no further comment at this time.”
This week, the discussions focus on local issues, and those at the Port of NY/NJ may not go as smoothly. These local talks at NY/NJ broke off on January 10 when the ILA walked out after several hours of negotiations with the New York Shipping Association. The most contentious issues are some work rules in NY/NJ, relating to dockworkers’ income; thus they will be difficult to gain agreement from both sides.
Contrary to previous positions I’ve taken, I’m now optimistic that both sides will reach an agreement—maybe not by Feb 6, but without a work stoppage. That’s much different from my feelings in prior messages as we came up to Sept 30 and Dec 28 deadlines. However, you should thus know my batting average is zero so far (I had guessed there’d be a strike on Oct 1 and on Dec 29, and each were wrong). Now my guess that there’ll be no work stoppage may be equally flawed.
Either way, there is a chance that there will be a work stoppage on February 7, an extremely cold time of the year. Be sure you remove any wine or beer containers from the pier that arrive prior to February 6, and try to delay arrivals until after that date.


ILA Contract Extension

December 28, 2012

We received an important update from the AgTC:


Settlement Reached, Strike Ends!

December 5, 2012

After a weeklong strike, clerical workers and employers at the LA/LB ports reached an agreement last night. Longshoremen are expected to return to work today.


Crippling strike at LA ports ends; deal reached
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Clerical workers and longshoremen at the nation's largest port complex will return to work Wednesday, eight days after they walked out in a crippling strike that prevented shippers from delivering billions of dollars in cargo across the country.
"I'm really pleased to tell all of you that my 10,000 longshore workers in the ports of LA and Long Beach are going to start moving cargo on these ships," said Ray Familathe, vice president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. "We're going to get cargo moved throughout the supply chain and the country and get everybody those that they're looking for in those stores."
Negotiators reached a tentative agreement to end the strike late Tuesday, less than two hours after federal mediators arrived from Washington, D.C. No details about the terms of the deal were released, though a statement from the workers' union said it had won new protections preventing jobs from being outsourced.
Days of negotiations that included all-night bargaining sessions suddenly went from a stalemate to big leaps of progress by Tuesday. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the sides were already prepared to take a vote when the mediators arrived.
At issue during the lengthy negotiations was the union's contention that terminal operators wanted to outsource future clerical jobs out of state and overseas _ an allegation the shippers denied.
Shippers said they wanted the flexibility not to fill jobs that were no longer needed as clerks quit or retired. They said they promised the current clerks lifetime employment.
The strike began Nov. 27, when 450 members of the union's local clerical workers unit walked off their jobs. The clerks had been working without a contract for more than two years.
The walkout quickly closed 10 of the ports' 14 terminals when some 10,000 dockworkers, members of the clerks' sister union, refused to cross picket lines.
Even though the deal was reached soon after their arrival, the federal mediators said they had little to do with the solution.
"In the final analysis, it worked. The parties reached their own agreement, said George Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. "There is no question in my mind that collective bargaining is the best example of industrial democracy in action."
During the strike, both sides said salaries, vacation, pensions and other benefits were not a major issue.
The clerks, who make an average base salary of $87,000 a year, have some of the best-paying blue-collar jobs in the nation. When vacation, pension and other benefits are factored in, the employers said, their annual compensation package reached $165,000 a year.
"We know we're blessed," one of the strikers, Trinnie Thompson, said during the walkout. "We're very thankful for our jobs. We just want to keep them."
Union leaders said if future jobs were not kept at the ports, the result would be another section of the U.S. economy taking a serious economic hit so that huge corporations could increase their profit margins by exploiting people in other states and countries who would be forced to work for less.
Combined, the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports handle about 44 percent of all cargo that arrives in the U.S. by sea. About $1 billion a day in merchandise, including cars from Japan and computers from China, flow past its docks.
Shuttering 10 of the ports' 14 terminals kept about $760 million a day in cargo from being delivered, according to port officials. The cargo stacked up on the docks and in adjacent rail yards or, in many cases, remained on arriving ships. Some of those ships were diverted to other ports along the West Coast.
After the deal was reached, the ports' management said they were "delighted that the terminals will be operating again, that the cargo will be flowing."
The clerks handle such tasks as filing invoices and billing notices, arranging dock visits by customs inspectors, and ensuring that cargo moves off the dock quickly and gets where it's supposed to go. The $1 billion a day in cargo that moves through the busy port terminals is loaded on trucks and trains that take it to warehouses and distribution centers across the country.
Villaraigosa, who had been calling for the two sides to reach a deal for days, said he was pleased by the resolution.
"I think it's appropriate to say `mission accomplished,'" he said.




December 4, 2012

     National and local media, including the LA Times, is reporting that “Both sides in the strike that has crippled the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have agreed to federal mediation, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Tuesday at a news conference. Villaraigosa said the agreement was an encouraging sign and could help bring an end to the strike, now in its eighth day. He said the parties negotiated throughout the night and there had been some recent movement. ‘I’m hopeful that the mediator will be here today,’ Villaraigosa told reporters. ‘We’ve got to get a deal and get a deal as soon as possible.’    
     Workers belonging to the 800-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit have been on strike since Nov. 27 against a 14-employer group of shipping lines and terminal owners. The picket lines are being honored by the 10,000 regional members of the ILWU. Add in local truckers, and some 20,000 workers are affected, Villaraigosa estimated.  The strike has shut down 10 of the 14 cargo container terminals at the nation's busiest seaport complex. The clerical workers had been without a contract since June 30, 2010.
     The strike is considered potentially disastrous for the Southern California economy because the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the leading contributors to the region's goods-movement industry, which employs nearly 600,000 people. The dispute centers on the charge by the union that employers — large shipping lines and terminal operators — have steadily outsourced jobs through attrition. The union says the employers have transferred work from higher paid union members to lower-paid employees in other states and countries. The employers dispute that claim, saying they've offered the workers full job security and generous wage and pension increases.”

     According to American Shipper over 100 trade associations from around the country have petitioned President Obama to take action to end the strike in LA/LB.  Click here for more information.

LA/LB Longshore Strike Continues, Impact Growing as Negotiations Continue

December 3, 2012

American Shipper has released the below article regarding the LA/LB Longshore strikes:

LA/LB longshore strike enters day 7

      A strike by clerical workers in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach at 10 of the ports' 14 container terminals entered its seventh on Monday.
      Expressions of frustration by government and business leaders continue and ship congestion in the harbor could increase dramatically in the days ahead.
      Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa called for round-the-clock negotiations with a mediator between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit (OCU) and the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association (LA/LBHEA), according to a letter quoted by the Los Angeles Times.
      The strike is "costing our local economy billions of dollars. The cost is too great to continue down this failed path," the mayor said. "Mediation is essential and every available hour must be used."
      Bruce Carlton, the president and CEO of the National Industrial Transportation League, the nation's largest shippers group, sent a letter last week to President Obama urging him "to employ all measures at your disposal to encourage the two sides to resume talks and end the work stoppage."
      A 2002 lockout of ILWU longshoremen at West Coast ports was ended only after President Bush used the Taft-Hartley Act.
      According to the Marine Exchange of California, as of early Monday morning there were a total of 23 containerships, and 51 vessels of all sorts, in the harbor. Congestion could get worse in coming days. According to information posted on the exchange's website, eight additional containerships were due to berth at the harbor today, 12 on Tuesday, eight on Wednesday, and six on Thursday.
      No work was being done at 10 of 14 container terminals in the ports as longshoremen continued to refuse to cross picket lines thrown up by 600 striking office workers represented by the OCU, an affiliate that represents clerical workers at terminals and shipping agencies. The OCU and harbor employers have been holding on-off talks since April 2010 in order to come up with a new contract to replace one that expired on June 30, 2010.
      When OCU workers set up picket lines last week, members of the wide ILWU, the longshoremen and checkers involved in moving cargo at the terminals, refused to cross the picket lines, effectively shutting down most of the two nation's two largest ports.
      The LA/LBHEA said that on Saturday it "offered the OCU new proposals containing further concessions in connection with the OCU’s 'featherbedding' demands -- the requirements that employers call in temporary workers and hire new employees even if there is no work for those individuals to perform. The OCU immediately rejected the proposals."
      The harbor employers also said they "continue to offer wage and pension increases, an absolute job guarantee against layoffs, and a promise to maintain all other OCU benefits that the employers have previously offered – all of which would bring the average annual OCU wage-and-benefits package to more than $190,000 over the next three and one-half years."
      "The weeklong strike by the clerks is now expected to extend into a second week, leaving hundreds of thousands of people who support port operations without work and severely impacting the local and national economies. The strike’s impact is widening and is already costing the national economy billions of dollars by many estimates. Sadly, the OCU continues to put the self-interests of 600 members ahead of the local community, the ports’ future viability, and the economic welfare of an entire country," said a statement from the LA/LB HEA.
      The OCU has said jobs of its members are being outsourced, which the harbor employer association denies, saying "not one OCU job has been sent overseas, or anywhere else, nor have there been any layoffs. The 51 jobs the OCU identifies no longer exist due to retirements, deaths and normal attrition. They were not filled because the jobs were no longer needed -- and this was by agreement between the employers and union as a way of avoiding layoffs during the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression."
      Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, issued a statement Friday afternoon in which he repeated the oursourcing allegation, saying the OCU was "drawing a line against the steady and irresponsible outsourcing of their jobs to the lowest bidder."

Long Beach Business Journal


December 3rd, 2012 - With the economic impact of the strike broadening, seven of eight container terminals at the Port of Los Angeles and three of six at the Port of Long Beach remain shut down Monday morning as negotiations between employer groups and union workers continue.

Nine ships have been diverted from the seaport since picket lines first went up on November 27.  Eleven container vessels are at anchor at this hour, unable to dock and unload.

"The cargo continues to back up," said Port of Los Angeles spokesperson Phillip Sanfield.

Port officials have called for a speedy resolution to the labor impasse as breaks in the supply chain are beginning to show, impacting potentially hundreds of thousands of workers across the country.  Together, the ports account for more than 40 percent of the nation's import trade volume.


Cargo Diversion Roundtable

December 3, 2012

We have been informed by Scott Davies of the Maritime Administration that the venue for the Cargo Diversion Roundtable (December 11th) has changed.  Please note that the new venue is at the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority located at One Newark Center, Newark, NJ.  The venue is across the street from Newark Penn Station.  For those seeking lodging accommodations, the Hilton Newark Penn Station is also across the street from the venue and the train station.

Los Angeles/Long Beach Port Strike

November 29, 2012

The ILWU Dockworkers have refused today to cross OCU picket lines, which have been set up at both the ports of Los Angeles and at Long Beach.  In short, no cargo is getting into or out of those ports, and some vessels have already decided to discharge their cargo at Oakland or Mexico ports. 

The National Retail Federation, which represents major big retailers, has asked the President to intervene.

We anticipate that the strike will continue into Friday, November 30, but will continue to post daily updates on our website. 

American Shipper
November 29, 2012

NEWSFLASH: Retailers ask White House to help restart LA/LB port talks

   The National Retail Federation has urged President Obama “to use all means necessary” to restart stalled contract negotiations between management and striking union workers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
   The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit has placed pickets outside a majority of terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and other longshoremen are refusing to cross the picket lines. As a result, ships are not being loaded or unloaded and trucks and trains cannot move containers on or off 10 terminals.
   The Los Angeles Times reported that two ships have been diverted to other ports, one to Oakland and another to an unnamed port in Mexico.
   “A prolonged strike at the nation’s largest ports would have a devastating impact on the U.S. economy,” read a letter from NRF President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Shay to the president. “We call upon you to use all means necessary to get the two sides back to the negotiating table.”
   The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.
   NRF noted that in 2002 a 10-day lockout at West Coast ports led to significant supply chain disruptions, which took six months to remedy, and cost the economy an estimated $1 billion a day.
   “An extended strike (in Los Angeles and Long Beach) this time could have a greater impact considering the fragile state of the U.S. economy,” the letter stated. “The two sides must remain at the negotiating table until a deal is reached.”
   The ILWU said in a statement issued today that a joint committee of management and labor concluded that longshoremen had a contractual right to refuse to cross the OCU picket lines.
   “The ILWU-PMA Coast Labor Relations Committee that establishes policy and administers the contract between the employer and union on the West Coast waterfront on Wednesday agreed that ILWU Local 63 Office Clerical Unit (OCU) picket lines at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were bona fide,” said the statement from the ILWU Coast Longshore Division. “The agreement confirms that longshoremen in ILWU Locals 13, 63 and 94 have the right to refuse to cross OCU pickets under the collective bargaining agreement between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association."
   The ILWU statement further said “the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor though impacted, remains open for commerce at greater than 25 percent capacity.” In Los Angeles, seven of eight container terminals are open and in Long Beach three of six container terminals are open.
   Craig Merrilees, communications director for the ILWU, said “hopefully, yesterday’s resolution on the legality of the strike will pave the way to tackle the central issue of outsourcing. Clerical workers are determined to stop good jobs from disappearing in the harbor area – and reappearing in Texas and Taiwan.”
   Ray Ortiz Jr., an ILWU Coast Committeeman who represents all 30 longshore local unions on the West Coast, said “Longshoremen stand up when other workers need our help. Sure it's sacrifice to give up a paycheck when you refuse to cross the picket, but we believe it’s in the long-term interest of the Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor area to retain these good local jobs. By standing with OCU, we stand with the community.”
   John Fageaux, president of ILWU Local 63 OCU, said earlier this week that phone calls by union representatives were listened to by APMT employees.
   Alan McCorkle, senior vice president of APM Terminals’ Los Angeles, said his company was “concerned about these allegations. It is not our policy to listen to union calls. As is our normal policy, we have commenced an investigation and we have no further comment at this time.” - Chris Dupin

American Shipper
November 29, 2012

Longshore strike spreads in LA/Long Beach

   A strike by longshoremen crippled the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Wednesday, spreading from one to 10 terminals in the two ports.
   Phillip Sanfield, a spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles, said the Maritime Exchange of Southern California reported there were 23 vessels in the port, including 17 at berth and six at anchor.
   According to the American Association of Port Authorities, the two ports handled just over 14 million TEU of cargo in 2011.
   Daniel Hackett of the consulting firm Hackett Associates said that between September 2011 and August 2012 they handled about 42 percent of containerized imports and 28 percent of exports.
   The strike began Tuesday at noon when clerical workers represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit set up pickets at a single facility, the APM Terminals (APMT) Pier 400 facility in the Port of Los Angeles.
   Those workers do office work for the terminal, but other ILWU longshoremen and clerks working for other ILWU unit honored the picket line bringing terminal operations to a halt. A local arbitrator ruled that the picket line was not bona fide, but ILWU longshoremen did not return to work.
   Alan McCorkle, senior vice president at APMT's Los Angeles terminal, said two Maersk Line ships were idled and containers were unable to enter or leave the terminal by truck or train. He said this time of year probably 6,000 containers enter or leave the terminal by ship, train, or truck.
   On Wednesday, the strike spread to other terminals in Los Angeles and Long Beach where the OCU represents workers. A committee consisting of the ILWU and employers were meeting at the headquarters of the Pacific Maritime Association to discuss the strike. The PMA did not return phone calls seeking an update on those talks.
   By Wednesday afternoon, John Fageaux Jr., president of ILWU Local 63, told American Shipper that the 800 members of his local had gone on strike against all 14 of the steamship agencies and terminals at which it represents workers, and the decision by other longshoremen to honor those picket lines had effectively closed down terminals in both Los Angeles and Long Beach.
   Fageaux said the union was striking to prevent the outsourcing of jobs.
   Fageaux, whose local has been negotiating with employers to renew a contract that expired June 30, 2010, said “we’ve been meeting with the companies for more than two years, but they’re still concealing their outsourcing – even when they’ve been caught red-handed. These employers seem to have an insatiable appetite for outsourcing.”
   He claimed the “harbor community” has lost at least 51 permanent positions during the past five years, and that the companies have announced plans to take away another 76 in the future.
   The Port of Long Beach said these terminals had closed as of 2 p.m., Wednesday: Long Beach Container Terminal at Pier F which handles OOCL ships, International Transportation Service which handles "K" Line at Pier G, and Total Terminals International at Pier T. Three other terminals that do not have OCU employees - SSAT at Pier A, SSAT/Matson at Pier C and Pacific Container Terminal at Pier J - were open.
   Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa said seven of the eight terminals in his city’s port were shut “with numerous ships sitting idle at berth.”
   In a letter to Fageaux, and Stephen L. Berry, chief negotiator for the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association which is representing employers, the mayor said the “City of Los Angeles needs both of you to get back to the bargaining table this week, to work with a mediator, and to hammer out a settlement before further harm is done to our local economy. There is no time to waste.”
   The Port of Los Angeles said in addition to APMT's Pier 400 these terminals have been shut down: APL, California United Terminals, China Shipping, Evergreen, Yang Ming and Yusen Terminals. It said only the TraPac Terminal, which does not have OCU employees was open.
   Sandy Kennedy, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), said “a work stoppage at America’s two busiest ports just as the holiday shopping season begins is a recipe for disaster. If the strike isn’t resolved quickly, the effects on retailers, their customers and the economy will be enormous. We urge the parties to quickly resolve the dispute and get back to work in order to avoid the substantial economic damage a prolonged work stoppage would surely cause.”
   The Long Beach Business Journal said U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Dianne Feinstein, also a California Democrat, issued a joint statement calling for a resolution to the labor dispute between ILWU Local 63 OCU and the employers represented by the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association (LA/LBHEA).
   “We urge both sides to come together and resolve this dispute so we can protect the economy of the Los Angeles region, the West Coast and our nation, which will be adversely affected by the closures at these ports,” the statement read.
   The ILWU posted comments from three Democratic congresswomen from California - Grace F. Napolitano, Judy Chu, and Janice Hahn - expressing support for the union.
   “Having been a secretary myself, I know very well the concerns of clerical workers including safety, fair wages, and benefits for their families,” said a statement from Napolitano. “We must continue to protect these jobs from being shipped overseas while ensuring fair treatment of those who have helped the nation’s economy through their hard work.”
   Napolitano is a member of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
   Fageaux also claimed that APMT employees had violated the law by listening to union representative phone calls.
   The president of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, Paddy Crumlin, said “these are extremely serious charges," and Harold J. Daggett, president of the International Longshoremen’s Association which represents workers on the East Coast, said “We are outraged to hear of this possible breach of union members privacy.”
   The LA/LBHEA said “the OCU’s conduct shows an irresponsible willingness to jeopardize port operations and thousands of jobs in the Los Angeles area in an effort to pressure the employers into accepting its unreasonable demands."
   It said it had offered to increase OCU annual compensation packages to over $190,000 in wages and benefits by 2016 and employers had proposed giving OCU employees "average annual wages up to approximately $90,000 per year and pensions of up to $75,000 per year. The OCU have demanded more."
   The employer group said "the OCU’s actions mark a dangerous escalation in the ongoing labor dispute. If the OCU continues its strike, the negative effects on jobs and the economy will be felt nationwide."
   It further added the "OCU has attempted to justify its actions in the media by perpetuating myths that they are not fighting over money and that employers are taking away jobs" but said those claims "do not hold water." - Chris Dupin



Update on Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

November 29, 2012

New York. We have received several complaints of truck shortages and opportunistic pricing for transporting diverted containers during the aftermath of Sandy.  The US Department of Transportation is convening a “Cargo Diversion Roundtable” on December 11 at the Customs House at Bowling Green in lower Manhattan.  This is a timely program to discuss post-Sandy events with other importers and with the expert panel which DoT is preparing.  Details are attached.

November 7, 2012

Most terminals at NY area ports are open without operating restrictions!  We will continue to update our website with the most current news regarding port conditions as soon as we are informed.

Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath Keeps NY/NJ Ports Closed

November 1, 2012

All Atlantic ports have reported that they have re-opened after Hurricane Sandy, with the notable exception of the Ports of NY/NJ.  WSSA has received daily updates of NY’s status, and Wednesday’s report—issued after hours—indicates that the port will not be reopened until surveys and remediation are completed.  Surveys are expected to be finished this weekend, so it’s unlikely that the port will be open until sometime next week.

Once electrical power is restored to terminals in the NY/NJ complex, it will be up to the terminal operators to determine when to begin operations to clear containers already received.  Rails around the port area are not operating, and roadways need to be cleared of flooding and debris before anything is accessible.  Do not expect shipments to move from NY terminals until Monday at the absolute earliest. 

It will be up to the ocean vessel operator whether to await port reopening or to skip New York and discharge cargo at the next port in the rotation (many times it will be Norfolk).  Importers need to be aware that this is a “force majeure” situation (that is, neither the fault of the carrier nor the cargo), so the cargo-owner will need to pay to transport the cargo from whatever port it’s discharged at to the final destination.  

Please contact Albatrans for status updates on cargo which has arrived in NY prior to Sandy, or for anticipated NY arrivals which have been postponed because of Sandy.  Albatrans’ e-mails are working, but their telephones are still having some problems.  Feel free to contact anyone at WSSA—800-368-3167—if you are unable to contact Albatrans.

Carriers will each have their own policy regarding demurrage, but we’re relieved to see that CMA-CGM has announced waiving demurrage rules for cargo already at the port of NY/NJ, as described in the attached message.  We believe most carriers will follow this action, but please check with Albatrans or WSSA for specifics.



October 18, 2012

CMA-CGM, the world’s third largest containership company, has sold convertible bonds representing up to 10% of the company’s ownership.  The French government bought $150 million (60%) of these bonds.  The Turkish Yildirim Group bought the other 40%, potentially enlarging their position in the French carrier to 24%.  The Saadé family retains 70% ownership of CMA.   CMA, like most other ocean carriers, lost money in 2011--$30 million.   The company lost another $294 million in the first quarter of 2012, but was reported to have turned to profitability in the second quarter .  CMA earned a profit of $1.6 billion in 2010. 

San Antonio Port Working Again/French Ports Stop Work

October 8, 2012

We’re pleased to report that dockworkers at the port of San Antonio have reached a formal agreement with the Chilean government, which was signed on Friday, October 5. Our colleagues at Albatrans Chile confirm that the port of San Antonio was working again on Saturday, October 6.
There will no doubt be some delays at Valparaiso, as some vessels had diverted their cargo operations to that nearby port during the San Antonio work stoppage. However, we do not foresee any major congestion problems beyond the next several days.
In Europe, a general strike has just been announced for French ports, for Tuesday, October 9. The French strike is scheduled to last 24 hours, during which no vessels will be loaded or unloaded. The issue seems to be in response to EEC guidelines set for Iberian ports and anticipation of French salary adjustments planned for mid-2013.
Albatrans France expects ports to be closed until Wednesday at 6:00 pm, and resume normal operation on Thursday. Albatrans will provide status updates on any affected shipments.

Strike in Chile

September 25, 2012

Stevedores at the Chilean port of San Antonio began a strike yesterday, over pension demands to the Chilean government. This strike may be short in duration, but we are uncertain how long it will last. Chilean containers have been diverted to carriers calling directly at the port of Valparaiso, as this nearby Chilean port is so far not affected by the strike at San Antonio.
Most affected will be shipments which originate from Albatrans’ warehouse at San Antonio, although they can likewise be diverted to Valparaiso. Carriers advise us that once San Antonio resumes normal port operations, first priority will be given to strike-bound cargo.

ILA Contract Deadline Postponed

September 20, 2012

We have just received word that the ILA and USMX have agreed to extend the current contract for 90 days, while they continue renewal negotiations.
This means that there will be no work stoppages at US ports this year, there is a much greater likelihood the two sides will be able to agree on contract renewal, and none of the published congestion surcharges will apply for shipments this year.
Click here to view a News Release from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service regarding this extension.
We’ll keep you updated as more specifics are known.

U.S. Mediator gets ILA, Employers Back to the Bargaining Table

September 6, 2012

We have just learned from American Shipper’s “AS Daily” that a federal mediator was successful in getting the ILA and the USMX to resume negotiations on September 17. The fact that the federal government is taking an increased profile in this dispute recognizes the significance of a work stoppage on the country’s economy, and is encouraging news that a reasonable solution may be reached. The and full story follows.
In the meantime, WSSA and Albatrans are executing contingency routings for products which might otherwise be caught in a work stoppage when the current labor contract expires September 30. Many carriers have instituted “Congestion Surcharges” of up to $1,000 per 40’ container, to be effective at open ports if there is an Atlantic/Gulf port shutdown. By announcing these surcharges now—within the 30 day notice period--carriers retain flexibility to reduce or eliminate the surcharges depending on what the situation looks like on October 1.

NEWSFLASH: U.S. mediator gets ILA, employers back to the bargaining table
    The International Longshoremen's Association and U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX) have agreed to resume negotiations during the week of Sept. 17 at the request of a federal mediator.
    In a statement this morning, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George H. Cohen said "the parties have agreed to resume negotiations under our auspices during the week of September 17, 2012. Due to the sensitivity of this high profile dispute and consistent with the agency's longstanding practice, we will not disclose either the location of the meeting or the content of the substantive negotiations that will take place."
    Talks between the ILA and USMX broke down on Aug. 22. - Chris Dupin

    The head of the New York Shipping Association (NYSA) said he is still hopeful bargaining talks between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX) so that an agreement on a new contract can be reached without a work disruption at East Coast and Gulf ports.
    The ILA and USMX have agreed to resume negotiations during the week of Sept. 17 at the request of a federal mediator.
    In a statement Thursday, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George H. Cohen said "the parties have agreed to resume negotiations under our auspices during the week of September 17, 2012. Due to the sensitivity of this high profile dispute and consistent with the agency’s longstanding practice, we will not disclose either the location of the meeting or the content of the substantive negotiations that will take place."
    In an interview with American Shipper earlier this week, Joseph C. Curto, president of the New York Shipping Association, said “we are still optimistic that we can get back to the bargaining table and strike some kind of deal by the end of September.”
USMX, led by its chairman and chief executive officer James Capo, leads negotiations for steamship lines, terminals, stevedoring companies, and port associations throughout the country such as the NYSA.
    NYSA is one of 11 port associations that are members of USMX and holds separate talks with the ILA on local issues particular to the Port of New York and New Jersey.
    Curto said if the two sides resume talks and “are talking and bargaining and run up against a deadline and are making some progress, I don’t think management would necessarily be opposed to an extension of some sort if we are making some progress. I’m not talking an extension that goes a year, but a couple of weeks. If we are making some headway, it makes sense to continuing bargaining. Of course, both sides have to agree.”
    Curto and John J. Nardi, NYSA’s executive vice president, noted that NYSA-ILA talks scheduled for last week were postponed after negotiations with the USMX on a master contract for ports from Maine to Texas broke down on Aug. 22.
    While NYSA was hoping to negotiate in parallel with USMX on local issues, Curto said it now appeared “USMX will have to be substantially completed before we get into some of our stuff.”
  The master contract between the ILA and USMX sets wages and covers containerized and roll-on/roll-off cargoes, but not breakbulk or bulk cargoes, which are negotiated separately. It covers areas such as jurisdiction, the use of technology for handling cargo, and defines the basic work day. It also encompasses a national health plan for ILA workers on the East and Gulf coasts and oversight of benefits such as container royalties.
    NYSA and similar port associations negotiate agreements that cover the pay of skill differentials for specialized workers such as crane operators and drivers, local pension plans, holiday and vacations, starting times for employees, work rules and grievance handling procedures.
    There are about 3,300 employees covered by the master contract in New York, more than in any of the 13 other East and Gulf coast ports. There are about 14,500 workers in all the master contract ports.
    In a statement issued Aug. 22, Capo highlighted the importance of New York in the negotiations. He said “management’s primary goal in these negotiations is to maintain the competitive position and market share of the ports by improving productivity and removing the inefficiencies that threaten the economic viability of the ports” and said antiquated work rules have made the Port of New York and New Jersey “the most expensive port in the world.”
    At that time he said the ILA leadership had been "unwilling to have a meaningful discussion about these archaic practices, among them ‘low-show’ jobs that pay some ILA members for 24 hours of work even if they are only on the job for a few hours a day.”
    Curto said about 3,000 of the ILA members in New York are direct labor, handling cargo, driving the machines, or doing clerk and checker work.
    He said there are a couple of hundred other ILA members who are supervisors and some of them are paid even when they are not at the terminal, as long as the people they are supervising are at the pier working.
    “A ship may be working 24 hours a day…. The supervisor may have come for 6 or 8 hours to do whatever it takes, and is still being paid for 24 hours. A lot of costs in New York come from paying workers who are not necessarily on the pier directly handling cargo or performing specific work for the employer,” Curto said. These workers may include head timekeepers, head driver foremen, head maintenance foreman, head tractor foremen, and chief clerks.
    “For the most part they perform some activity and work of value for the employer, so let’s not say they are not useful or reflect a benefit. The problem is the way we pay them,” Curto added.
    Curto, a former Maher Terminals executive, bargained with Harold Daggett, president of the ILA, for many years. Before becoming a national officer, Daggett was president of a key ILA unit representing maintenance and repair workers in the Port of New York and New Jersey.
    Curto said he is disappointed with how the negotiations have gone so far, noting the NYSA has been doing things to improve the competitiveness and attract more cargo to New York and New Jersey. These include lowering the container assessment and working to adjust rail handling rates to attract more rail cargo and focusing the attention of the port authority and government on the need to raise the Bayonne Bridge so that larger containerships can sail beneath it so they can call the major marine terminals on Staten Island and in Newark and Elizabeth, N.J.
    “Part of our strategy to improve our competitiveness of the port is to get into bargaining with the union and change some of these work practices and manning that make us uncompetitive," Curto said. "My frustration is that we have been doing all these other things and I want to be at the table to discuss these other things with the union and we have not been able to do so.”
    Capo, who last week asked for U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for assistance in getting the talks restarted, had also been in contact with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
    Curto said “at least from the management side, we don’t see any negative aspect to having them (mediators) participate in the process," noting that "federal mediators don’t bargain or make a deal, they just encourage the parties to keep talking."
    If a contract is not reached by the end of September, and the ILA went on strike, Curto said he does not know if President Obama would use the Taft-Hartley Act to try and end it. Former President Bush in 2002 used the same law to put an end to the lockout of longshoremen on the West Coast who are represented by a different union, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
    “Of course a strike would have a very detrimental impact on the economy - just-in-time shipments, manufacturing, the consumer side. I’m sure the powers that be would not like to see a long strike because of the effect on the economy," he said.
    For that reason, he thinks it is likely that USMX and the ILA would be ordered back to the bargaining table to try and reach a deal.
    "At that point shippers would have to decide whether to continue to come or seek alternative routings for their cargo, depending on what they felt about the chances of the parties working out an agreement," he added.
    In a separate interview with American Shipper Wednesday, ILA spokesman James McNamara said USMX has refused to provide the union with a copy of management's "final and best offer" that the union wanted to present to about 200 wage scale delegates.
    McNamara also complained USMX has tried to pit ILA workers in New York against those in other parts of the country.
    "Nobody is buying that, everybody knows what they are doing, we've been predicting that since March. We are aware of that strategy and everybody is behind Harold," he said. - Chris Dupin  

ILA Strike Action is Authorized

August 29, 2012


We have just learned that a key local of the ILA has voted to authorize a strike if there is no change to the contract renewal discussions.  This does not mean there will be a strike, but it does mean that a strike becomes a more credible option.

Management (USMX) has options to respond to avert a strike, but none will be helpful to keeping port costs low.   Or they can ramp up the rhetoric, assuring that there will be problems after the contract expires September 30.

These negotiations are like a chess game, and I am not encouraged by the direction these moves are taking.  Most believe that a work stoppage—if it happens--will be relatively brief, but it will cause delays and congestion for several weeks even after the ports re-open.  

WSSA and Albatrans have some contingencies available in case of a work stoppage.  Please contact us (Geoff Giovanetti) or Albatrans (Vicki Geraci or Alper Ozgulumser) to learn what options might be available for your shipments.

Below is today’s news from American Shipper’s daily briefing for today.

Newsflash: Key ILA Local votes to authorize a strike
Wednesday, August 29, 2012

    The International Longshoremen's Association said that 700 members of Local 1804-1, the largest local in the union, unanimously gave its president on Tuesday night authority to recommend a strike.   

   Meeting at a Ramada Inn in Newark, N.J., the members gave Dennis A. Daggett, "the authority to recommend and call for a strike if that action becomes necessary when the current Master Contract expires on September 30, 2012." ILA Local 1804-1 was holding its August monthly meeting where its president mainly spoke of current contract negotiations.

       Local 1804-1, whose members do maintenance and repair work, is a key local for the union. Daggett is the son of Harold J. Daggett, the ILA's international president, who also attended the meeting. The older Daggett was president of the local before becoming president of the union.   

   The two men provided recaps of master contract negotiations with the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX), which represents steamship lines and terminals that employ ILA members.

       According to an account of the meeting posted on the union's Facebook page, Harold Daggett said negotiations were progressing up until last week with negotiated landmark agreements on automation and chassis work, but then "fell apart when members of USMX suddenly took a hardline position and demanded givebacks in overtime pay, eight hour guarantees and elimination of jobs."   

   ILA spokesman James A. McNamara, who attended the meeting, said the account of USMX's demands were greeted with laughter and expressions of disbelief by ILA members.

      He said USMX is asking for changes in container royalty payments, and wants to be able to ask dockworkers to begin work at any time of day to reduce overtime and shift differential costs.   

   In an article posted on its Website, USMX said "in the current negotiations over a new master contract, management is not asking to eliminate container royalties, only to cap the payments and use the excess, not as savings for employers but to help pay for other benefits for ILA workers."

       USMX said "the first container royalties were established in 1960 as a way to protect members of the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO (ILA) in New York from job losses created by containerization and its introduction of automated cargo. In the more than half a century since, container royalty payments to ILA workers, not only in New York but at all the East and Gulf Coast ports, have increased dramatically, reaching over $211 million in 2011 alone. Not all of that money ends up in the pockets of ILA members; their union gets 10 percent – $21 million last year – through a checkoff from each member’s royalty payment.  

   "The initial reason for implementing container royalties – to protect ILA members from the loss of work – has long been forgotten. Today, thousands of workers who were not even born in 1960 – or in 1968 when container royalties were first distributed – continue to receive payments that in 2011 averaged $15,500 for ILA workers at the 14 East and Gulf Coast ports."

       "Container royalties have morphed from an assessment imposed through arbitration in 1960 to what they are today – another form of compensation for ILA workers, who are among the nation’s most highly compensated," USMX said. "The vast majority of ILA workers were not alive when containerization was introduced in New York in the late 1950s. In fact, only 136 of the 3,281 ILA workers at the Port of New York and New Jersey today were working at the port in 1968, the year container royalties were first distributed."   

   "Unlike the Port of New York and New Jersey, then and now the predominant port on the East Coast, ILA workers at ports like Savannah and Charleston saw their job opportunities grow because of containerization," USMX said. "The container royalties they receive have been a bonus that has nothing to do with any adverse job impact caused by containerization.   

   "The dramatic increase in royalty payments resulted from a combination of two factors – the reduction in the number of ILA workers and an increase in the tons of container cargo – from about 50 million tons in 1996 to 110 million in 2011.

       "With fewer workers and more tons, royalty payments, which are based on the weight of containerized cargo, have increased over the years. In the 14 years ending Sept. 30, 2011, the payments totaled $1.8 billion. In Savannah alone, they increased from $6,028 in 1996 to nearly $36,000 per worker in 2011," USMX added.   

   McNamara said the union has requested, but has not yet received, a "final and best offer" from USMX to present to the 200 leaders of the union who are wage scale delegates and must decide to vote any contract up or down.

    Dennis Daggett told union members the ILA's decision last month to join the International Dockers Council (IDC) has turned out to be a "strategic grand slam homerun."   

   “Portuguese Dockworkers have already written us indicating that they not only were supporting our fight against USMX, but would strike with us if we go out in October,” Daggett told his local members.  

-Chris Dupin

Holiday Port Closing

July 3, 2012

All terminals at the Port of NY/NJ, including the SeaLink Office and Truck Replacement
Center will be closed on Wednesday, July 4.  The terminals will reopen on Thursday, July 5,
with normal operating hours.   We do anticipate heavy volumes on Thursday, so please
plan accordingly.

Please anticipate most ports being similarly affected.

Thank you for your attention, and have a safe and enjoyable holiday!

Customer Advisory

April 2, 2012

Maersk advises us that the following USWC terminals will be closed for "Cesar Chavez Day", April 2, 2012:

Journal of Commerce's Annual Review & Outlook

January 30, 2012

We’re proud to say that WSSA’s Managing Director, Geoff Giovanetti, has been asked once again to comment in the Journal of Commerce’s Annual Review and Outlook edition.  Comments were received from over 150 key people from ocean carriers, forwarders port authorities, railroads, customs brokers, and importer/exporter groups like WSSA, and were published on January 9.

Generally, commenters were cautiously optimistic about growth for 2012.  But many, including Geoff, feared that carriers will face major financial problems if volumes and revenues don’t appreciably increase.

Please click here to view the article.


Italy Closed this week, due to Trucking Strike

January 26, 2012

Shipments from Italy have been paralyzed since Monday of this week because of a national truckers’ union strike.  Most roads and all ports have been severely affected.  The announced end to the strike is Saturday, January 28, although there has been no further confirmation of this.  Even with an end to the strike on Saturday, there will be substantial delays in the following weeks due to current congestion and backlogs. 

The ports of Naples, Leghorn, La Spezia, and Genoa are not operating at all.  Albatrans reports that all shipments booked for sailing this week have been rolled to vessels sailing either next week or the following week.  Albatrans has and will provide status information for specific shipments which have been affected.  

Third Strike Notice for the New Zealand Port of Auckland

December 7, 2011

Click here for a Media Release regarding strikes at the Port of Auckland.

The New Zealand Port of Auckland has received a third strike notice, for two 24 hour periods:  from 10:30 pm on Thursday, December 22, until 10:30 pm Friday, December 23; and from 10:30 pm Saturday, December 24, until 10:30 pm Sunday, December 25. 

This follows prior strikes on Dec 1-5 and Dec 8-12.  Shipments scheduled for those dates have been re-routed to sail via Tauranga, which is not affected by the Auckland strikes.  We have no reports of congestion at Metroport or Tauranga, but you should expect some delays.  Albatrans will keep you advised of the status of specific shipments which might be affected.


Upcoming Port Closings

November 18, 2011

Although the following report is from the Port of NY/NJ, it will likely be the same for all other US ports:

Thursday, November 24, is Thanksgiving. All terminals at the Port of New York and New Jersey will be closed and will reopen on Friday, November 25, with regular operating hours. Please consult with the terminals or check their websites for additional information. We do anticipate high cargo volumes on Friday, so please plan accordingly.

Kindly note the SeaLink office will be closed on Thursday, November 24, and Friday, November 25. The TRC will be open Monday, November 21 and Wednesday, November 23, 9 am - 2 pm.

Strike at Barcelona Port Canceled

November 10, 2011

We have just been notified that the strike at Barcelona port has been canceled.  All operations will resume as normal.  We will keep you posted with any updates.

Port of NY & NJ Terminal Updates

November 4, 2011

Please note the following information regarding terminal closings for the upcoming Election Day & Veterans Day, courtesy of the Port of NY & NJ:

"Tuesday, November 8, is Election Day, an ILA holiday. Please be advised that Global Terminal and Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT) will be open as well as the SeaLink office. All other terminals in the port are closed. For Global and PNCT's hours of operation, please check the terminals websites.

November 11, Veteran's Day, is also an ILA holiday. At present, the terminals are scheduled to be closed including the SeaLink office. If there are any changes to their schedule, we will inform you."

Labor Disruptions at Australian Ports --

November 1, 2011

Our partners at OOCL Australia report the following “industrial actions,” which means work stoppages, at Australian ports.  Expect possible delays due to backlogs created by these stoppages, and Albatrans will advise you whether any of your pending shipments will be delayed:

Customer Advisory

DP World Terminal Industrial Action
Brisbane, Fremantle, Melbourne, and Sydney

OOCL wishes to update customers of industrial actions being notified by the MUA (Maritime Union of Australia) to take place at DPW Terminals as per below listed:

Fremantle –  from 06:00 am Friday October 28 to 06:00 am Saturday October 29
                     and from 06:00 am Monday October 31 to 06:00 am Tuesday November 01

Brisbane --   from 07:00 am Wednesday November 02 to 07:00 am Thursday November 03

Sydney –     from 22:30 pm Friday November 04 until 22:30 pm Saturday November 05 - New!

Melbourne – from 06:30 am Sunday November 06 until 06:30am Monday November 07 - New!

We expect that this latest advice of Industrial Action will have a significant impact on vessel scheduling.

Italian Trucker Strike Subsides

October 26, 2011

The striking truckers and the Italian government sat down together yesterday, which resulted in the removal of pickets at the ports of Genoa and La Spezia.  Although there will still be congestion—La Spezia came under heavy rainfall and flooding yesterday—it looks like there will be labor calm for the time being.  No other ports were affected by the strike action.

Italian Port Strike

October 24, 2011

The Italian ports of Genoa and La Spezia are shut down, beginning Monday, October 24. There was an indication last week that a rumored national truckers' strike for next week had been called off, so it is not clear who is behind today's actions.
Albatrans Italy advises us that this unexpected truckers' strike began today by blocking access to the terminals at La Spezia and Genoa. This strike is expected to last at least all of this week. As of today, Leghorn, Naples and the other Italian ports were not affected, but things like this have a way of spreading.
There will be a number of shipments delayed because of this situation, and Albatrans NY will advise the status of delayed shipments to members who are affected. If Leghorn remains open, some La Spezia shipments may be re-routed via that port.
We will publish status reports just as soon as we receive them.

Upcoming Port Closings

August 30, 2011

Please note that Monday, September 5, is Labor Day.  All terminals at the Port of NY & NJ, including the SeaLink Office and Truck Replacement Program Center, will be closed.  Have a nice holiday!

Hurricane Irene Update

August 29, 2011

It looks like most Atlantic ports have resumed operations today, per the latest update today from Maersk Line:

Hurricane Irene Update – 4

Dear Valued Customer,

Please find below the latest vessel and terminal updates post-Hurricane Irene.

Current terminal conditions:
Miami, Jacksonville, Savannah, and Charleston - All clear. Business as usual.
Wilmington – Terminal is scheduled to open for business at 0800 Monday, August 29.
Norfolk - Terminal is scheduled to open at 0600 Monday, August 29.
Baltimore - Remains in condition “Yankee”. Expectation is that river transit will be cleared by 0800 on Monday, August 29 after channel inspection.
Philadelphia - Remains in condition “Zulu”. Previous announcements stated gates would be closed on Monday, August 29. Expectation is that river transit will be cleared by 0800 on Monday, August 29 after channel inspection.
Newark - Remains in condition “Whiskey”. First vessel operations are scheduled for 1900 on Monday, August 29. APM Terminals website states that gates will be open at 0800.


PierPass Fees Increase on Monday, August 1

July 29, 2011

"PierPass reminds exporters and importers through the Ports of LA and Long Beach that the Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF) charged for transiting the terminal gates during the daytime hours, will increase to $60 per twenty foot container (from the current $50) -- this coming Monday, August 1.  The price of a forty foot (or larger) container will increase to $120 from the current $100."

Special thanks to AgTC for providing this news update!

Football Kicks Wine Transportation Offsides

July 6, 2011

Please note: due to the Copa America 2011 soccer championship (July 1-24), there is congestion in the transportation of South American wine.  Orders can still be processed, but there will probably be delays with some of the cargoes from Argentina. We will continue to inform you of any changes.

Lacey Act Comments Appreciated

June 30, 2011

“Shippers’ NewsWire” advises WSSA that the US Department of Agriculture is seeking public comments regarding proposed changes to its administration of the Lacey Act.  This Act deals with plants/plant products, but has been interpreted as applicable to materials used for packaging, pallets, and other plant-based material ancillary to beverage imports. 

If you or your Customs House Broker would like to submit comments, they should be submitted by August 29, 2011

Terminal Update - Port of NY and NJ

June 28, 2011

Monday, July 4, is Independence Day. Please be advised that all marine terminals at the Port of New York and New Jersey will be closed. The SeaLink office and the Truck Replacement center will also be closed in observance of the U. S. federal holiday.

Port Newark Container Terminal has announced that it will extend gate hours to 1900, July 5 - 8.

Canadian Mail Service Halted

June 20, 2011

Please note the following message we received from

We would like to take a brief moment of your time, to address a situation which is affecting many of our members. If you are not already aware, currently general mail service in Canada has been halted. The reason for this is due to a labor dispute between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

All Canadian mail processing plants and letter carrier depots are closed. The majority of post offices have also been closed, and no new mail can be accepted in Canada. At this time, the United States, as well as many other countries around the world, have also stopped accepting new mail destined for Canada.

However, we are hopeful that this matter will be resolved during the upcoming week. The Canadian government has indicated that they aim to pass legislation to end the strike and lockout, and compel the two parties to resolve the matter through an arbitrated settlement.

We also received a note from American Shipper regarding this issue:

USPS stops accepting mail bound for Canada
   A labor dispute between Canada Post and its workers has compelled the U.S. Postal Service to stop accepting mail bound for Canada until at least sometime this week.
   Canada Post workers began rotating strikes in early June to protest stalled contract negotiations before the state-owned postal service locked out all employees June 15. The USPS said it will resume accepting mail destined for Canada, and process any such mail it already holds, as soon as Canada Post resumes operations.
   The USPS will still deliver packages to Canada sent through its Global Express Guaranteed Service, which is delivered by FedEx in Canada, the USPS said.
   Package delivery company UPS said it could pick up some of the slack in its Canada network, but is limiting existing customers to a 10 percent increase in their normal daily volumes to Canada so as not to degrade its regular service levels.
   The carrier also said deliveries to remote areas of Canada, which Canada Post handles for courier companies, will be suspended for the duration of the strike.



Update on Strike in Iquique, Chile

June 17, 2011

Please note that the strike in Iquique, Chile has come to an end.  We will continue to update the site if any changes do occur.

Strike in Iquique, Chile

June 16, 2011

The Union workers at the port of Iquique, Chile have declared a strike that will continue indefinitely.  Due to this issue, the terminal is not operating.  Iquique is not a critical port for Chilean wine shipments, but we are closely watching developments which might likewise affect San Antonio and/or Valparaiso.  We will continue to post any updates as we are informed.

Christchurch Earthquake Update

June 14, 2011

Christchurch has suffered more earthquakes and as a result, Lyttleton port is closed for all cargo operations.  We will continue to inform you with updates once they are announced.

US Gulf – South America East Coast Loop 1 (GS1) Service Advisory

June 7, 2011

Please review this Hapag-Lloyd service advisory regarding the elevated levels of the Mississippi River and its effect on transit. 

Port Closings

May 24, 2011

Please note that the Port of NY & NJ will be closed on Monday, May 30th in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.  We suspect most other US ports will be closed as well and will keep you updated with any news.

Strikes at Algeciras Called Off

April 11, 2011

Please note the strikes at Algeciras port mentioned below have been called off and the port is resuming to work normally.  Thanks.

Strike at Algeciras Port

April 8, 2011

Please note the announced strike at Algeciras port starting today and continuing for the following dates of April 2011: 8, 13, 15, 25, 27 - 29.  Carriers that are serving out of Algeciras are Maersk, Hapag Lloyd, and UASC.  Please expect difficulty in accommodating all loadings for those days.  Also, please note that this strike could cause some disruption for shipments from Fos.  We will keep you posted on any updates of this strike once we are informed.

Labor Disruption Closes Oakland Terminal

April 4, 2011

Thank you, Devine Intermodal, for providing the below list of terminals that are open or closed as of right now:

SSA Closed - Not serving China Shipping, CMA-CGM COSCO, Evergreen, Hanjin, Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk, NYK, OOCL, US Line, Yang Ming, and Zim.

APL Scheduled Closure - Not serving APL, Evergreen, Hyundai and Mitsui.

Total Open After a Slow Start - Serving Hanjin, K-Line Maersk, MSC, Safmarine, Wan Hai and Yang Ming.

7th Street Open - Serving China Shipping and Evergreen.

Ports of America Open - Serving APL, CCNI, COSCO.  CSAV, Evergreen, Hamburg-Sud, Hanjin, Hapag-Lloyd, Horizon, Hyundai, K-Line, Maersk, Mitsui MSC, Polynesia, and Yang Ming.

TraPac Open - Serving APL, CMA-CGM, Hyundai and Mitsui.

Christchurch Earthquake Update

February 24, 2011

Please note the following information we have received from Maersk Line regarding the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake:

Port of Lyttelton
The port and city depot are closed.

South Island Roads
The access road to the Lyttelton port is still closed. More updates to follow.

South Island Rail
   - Rail North of Christchurch: Lines expected to open today from Picton down to Middelton in Christchurch.
   - Rail South of Christchurch: Lines are open from Middelton to all locations south of Christchurch.
   - Delays to rail transit times and equipment supply shortages can be expected over the next few days.
   - Services will be restricted to operating in daylight hours to allow the rail staff to be with their families at night. Operating hours for the container terminal is 0700-1900 hrs.
   - Please note that the Kiwirail South Island Customer Service Center continues to be shut until further notice. Emails sent to will be responded to by staff from the North Island Customer Service Center.

We will continue to update once we are informed.

Lyttelton Port Operational Status

February 23, 2011

Please review this notice which is the latest communication from Lyttelton Port's CEO regarding the port's operational status following the earthquake that struck Christchurch on February 22, 2011.  

2011 Review & Outlook

February 9, 2011

The Journal of Commerce recently released their 2011 “Review and Outlook” edition.  This edition had 195 pages of opinions by ocean carrier executives, port officials, labor groups, rail spokespeople, other transportation groups, and a few selected shippers’ groups.
WSSA’s Managing Director, Geoffrey Giovanetti, was featured in this edition’s “Executive Commentary”.  You can read this article here.

France Strike Update

February 10, 2011

The work stoppages at Le Havre and Fos scheduled from Friday, February 11, 2011 until the beginning of next week have been cancelled.  We will continue to inform you of any updates and expectations for next week as soon as we are notified.

February 9, 2011

  For GPMM:
     -Strike on Saturday, February 12, 2011 from 06H00 till 03H00 (No Land and Marine ops).
     -Strike on Monday, February 14, 2011 from 06H00 till 03H00 (No Marine ops).
  For Dockers:
     -Strike on Friday, February 11, 2011 from 06H00 till 03H00 (No Land and Marine ops).
     -Strike on Sunday, February 13, 2011 from 06H00 till 03H00 (No Land and Marine ops).  
Received today from Le Havre port:

In continuation of the national action launched about collective agreement and “hard jobs” issue within the framework of the port reform, the FNPD CGT Union has informed us of a work stoppage as from Friday, February 11th, until Tuesday, February 15th, (alternating between dock workers and port CGT personnel), and the night from Tuesday evening until Wednesday morning, according to the following :

Considering the overall period,

       * Maneuvering of mobile structures will be provided:
              -from Saturday morning to Sunday morning,
              -from Monday morning to Tuesday evening, 7.00 p.m.,
              -as from Wednesday morning, 7.00 a.m.

       * Cargo-handling in terminals (except alongside the quay) will be provided:
              -from Friday morning to Saturday morning,
              -from Sunday morning to Monday morning,
              -Tuesday until 9.00 p.m.,
              -and from Wednesday morning, 6.00 a.m.

Despite this announcement, negotiations are not interrupted.
We will keep you informed of any change in the situation.

February 2, 2011

Please reference below for detailed information regarding strike situations at the French ports:

Le Havre:

Maersk: They have suspended direct service from Le Havre and are using the feeder system for evacuating containers.  Now charges fees on Maersk terminal.
Hapag-Lloyd: Not accepting bookings from Le Havre.
YML: No departures from Le Havre.  They are using the feeder system to remove containers at the terminal and are no longer accepting bookings.
OOCL: Yes, they are accepting all bookings at all destinations.
CMA: Co-loads on Maersk ships; no shipping before March 5, 2011.
MSC: Yes, accepting bookings.
MOL: Will co-load with Maersk.

*Situation unchanged since last week.
Zim Lines: OK, but 19 days delay.
Maersk: Using the feeder system; however, significant congestion is causing delays of 12 days or more.
Hapag-Lloyd: Not calling Fos until further notice.
UASC: Yes, accepting bookings, but are 7-10 days late.
MSC: Yes, accepting bookings.

Strike reports for Le Havre:

For GPMM (staff port tml, except dockers):
   -Work stoppage 10H / 20H; Removed night shift on Thursday, February 3, 2011
   -24-hour strike Saturday, February 5, 2011 (Saturday-Sunday 6 H 00 6 H 00)  
   -24-hour strike Monday, February 7, 2011 (Monday to Tuesday, 6 H 00 6 H 00)  
   -One hour work stoppage from 00 to 6 5 H: 00 Everyday

For Dockers:
   -Work stoppage 10H / 20H; Removed night shift on Thursday, February 3, 2011  
   -24-hour strike Friday, February 4, 2011 (Friday-Saturday 6 H 00 6 H 00)
   -24-hour strike Sunday, February 6, 2011 (Sunday to Monday, 6 H 00 6 H 00)
   -One hour work stoppage 21 H 00-22 H 00 All day

Strike reports for Fos:

For GPMM (staff port tml, except dockers):
   -Strike on Saturday, February 5, 2011 from 06H00 till 03H00 (No Land and Marine ops).
   -Strike on Monday, February 7, 2011 from 06H00 till 03H00 (No Marine ops).
For Dockers:
   -Strike on Tuesday night, February 1, 2011 from 20H00 till 03H00 (No Marine ops).
   -Strike on Friday, February 4, 2011 from 06H00 till 03H00 (No Land and Marine ops).
   -Fos TML Seayard will be closed Friday, February 4, 2011.
   -Strike on Sunday, February 6, 2011 from 06H00 till 03H00 (No Land and Marine ops).

Eurofos informed “work” will resume on Tuesday, February 8, 2011 by 06H00.

We will continue to update with the status of the strikes once we have been notified. Thanks!

Hapag-Lloyd Chassis Announcement

February 1, 2011

Hapag-Lloyd has announced a change in their USA chassis program.  This revision, effective April 1, 2011, will gradually stop providing chassis for Merchant Haulage (MH) shipments.  Please reference the below customer letter and FAQs for more details.

Customer Letter – Chassis Announcement
Customer Letter – Chassis FAQs

French Ports - Strike Status

January 28, 2011

FYI: The strikes on the French Ports will continue from January 28th to January 31st. 
We have not received official strike information yet, but most vessels are delayed or cancelled due to the strikes coming up this weekend. 
We will continue to inform you of the status once we are notified.

NY/NJ Port Authority takes a look back at 2010

January 24, 2011

Looking back, business in 2010 turned out to be unexpectedly robust. Here at the Port Authority, we remain cautiously optimistic for 2011. However, as competition for business all along the supply chain has increased, cost savings and efficiency improvements are at the forefront of everyone's mind. Fortunately, over the past decade we have invested more than $2 billion in the port to help us meet these challenges by reducing the cost of doing business at the Port of NY & NJ.

You have asked us what we are doing to keep the engines of Port Commerce tuned-up, oiled, and fully fueled. One of the answers is intermodal rail — a network of cutting-edge rail facilities that provide cost savings and reduced congestion to all the port's customers. Our recent investments in the ExpressRail System not only add value by reducing costs and congestion but also by reducing the environmental footprint of the port.

Our recent investment in the ExpressRail Corbin Street rail yard created an unprecedented 78,000 linear feet of track. This will allow us to put more trains into service simultaneously, reducing shipping costs as well as the region's carbon footprint. And the sheer size of our Corbin Street operation leaves room to satisfy capacity demands well into the future.

Consider, too, our new roadway projects. We are committed to invest over $90 million to modernize and improve the network of roads that service Port Newark and the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal. The North Cargo Area and Port Street Improvement Program will both widen and realign Port Street and Brewster Road, including each thoroughfare's connecting ramps and intersections, to a point where safety, ease of use, and efficiency levels stay productive well into the future. We are improving the McLester Street curve at the south end of the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal, and will start on a project to widen further sections of McLester Street this year. In addition, working with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, improvements will be made to the network of roads servicing New York Container Terminal to improve the flow of traffic on Forest Avenue.

The agency's recent purchase of the former Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne (MOTBY) places 130 acres of vital, dwindling waterfront space under public stewardship. Combine this with our acquisition of the 98-acre Global Terminal on the Port Jersey peninsula, which will be expanded by an additional 70 acres from the former North East Auto Terminal, and you see the agency's clear commitment to the commerce, jobs, people, and future of our port.

And of course, our recent pledge of $1 billion to raise the iconic Bayonne Bridge will allow for unhindered passage of larger container vessels to our container terminal facilities west of the Bridge. The alternative that was selected to raise the roadway in the present bridge structure as compared with others reviewed to replace the bridge, is the most cost effective, and has the fewest environmental and neighborhood impacts -- a victory for the port and its neighboring communities.

Finally, our new Marine Terminal Tariff creates a much-needed fund for critical future capital improvements. Money generated by the modest Cargo Facility Charge will be used to continue to improve and modernize port infrastructure, creating an investment in our port's future, and therefore an investment in each of us.

Despite unforeseen challenges, our commitment to increase capacity and provide for modern and efficient port infrastructure has never wavered: plan wisely, spend thoughtfully, and excel today while planning for an even brighter tomorrow.

                           Special Thanks to the NY/NJ Port Authority for providing us with this information!

NY/NJ Terminal Closings

January 11, 2011

Due to the inclement weather, the following terminals will be closed on January 12, 2011:

          - APM Terminals
          - Maher Terminal
          - PNCT Terminal

We will continue to keep you posted on any other delays or closings once we are informed.

Strike Status - French Ports

January 11, 2011

Le Havre:
   - Wed. Jan. 12th & Thurs. Jan. 13th: Total work stoppage.  No operations possible.
   - Fri. Jan. 14th: Crane-drivers will be on strike but the dock-workers won't be; containers can be
     trucked to the terminals but will not be loaded onto the vessels.
   - Sat. Jan. 15th & Sun. Jan. 16th: Total work stoppage.  No operations possible.

   - Wed. Jan. 12th & Thurs. Jan 13th: Total work stoppage.  No operations possible.
   - Fri. Jan. 14th: Crane-drivers will be on strike but the dock-workers won't be; containers can be
     trucked to the terminals but will not be loaded onto the vessels.
   - Sat. Jan. 15th & Sun. Jan. 16th: Total work stoppage.  No operations possible.

January 7, 2011
Shipping lines prepare for more disruption at French ports

Le Havre:
   - Monday, January 10th at 10PM to Tuesday, January 11th at 6AM
   - Friday, January 14th at 10PM to Monday, January 17th at 6AM
   - every day: One hour work stoppage from 5AM to 6AM and 9PM to 10PM

   - January 8th and 9th - No work
   - January 10th - Trade unions, port management and government representatives will meet to negotiate
 *After the meeting on the 10th, we will know more information about the strike and if it will be continuing.

January 6, 2011 - Please note that Hapag Lloyd is not accepting any booking in Fos.

January 4, 2011
          Hapag Lloyd's French Ports Situation - Update
Port workers at French ports have decided to resume their strike actions as follows:

   - January 04 / 20:00 until January 05 / 06:00
   - January 07 / 20:00 until January 08 / 06:00
   - One hour stoppage at the end of each shift starting January 03 / Noon
          Hapag Lloyd's Port of Fos - Strike Update 1

   - January 07 / 22:00 until January 10 / 06:00
   - One hour stoppage between 5:00 to 6:00 and 13:00 to 14:00 each day
          Hapag Lloyd's Port of Le Havre -Strike Update 1

We will continue to update our news page as soon as we are informed.

Port of New York and New Jersey will raise Bayonne Bridge

January 5, 2011

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has made a landmark decision to raise the Bayonne Bridge to allow larger vessels to transit the river.

Weather Updates in Europe

December 17, 2010

Italy: Leghorn terminal has suspended all activities; there are many difficulties related to truck transportation in the Northern/Central part of Italy. We will keep you posted if any shipments are affected by this situation.

France:  Snow in Northeast France has caused some shipments to be delayed.  We will keep you informed on each PO that is concerned.

National Strike in Italy

December 16, 2010

Please note that there is a National Strike scheduled for Monday and Tuesday December 20th and 21st in Italy.

Any updates on the status of this strike will be available next Monday only. 

We will keep you informed on any updates regarding this issue once we have been notified.

Confirmed Cancellations Due to Weather Conditions:

December 10, 2010

APL EGYPT eta 13.12.10 has been canceled at Le Havre after bad weather conditions in Felixstowe, Rotterdam ports.  The bkgs exports are deferred on the next ship MOL ENDOWMENT eta 18.12.10

LEVERKUSSEN EXPRESS v. 99W50 canceled its call in Rotterdam
Containers will be deferred on the M/S ROTTERDAM EXPRESS v. 70W51 eta Rotterdam 29.12; eta Oakland 23.01 

We will continue to keep you updated on current weather conditions once we are informed.

France Weather Update

December 1, 2010

Please review the following information regarding weather conditions in France and it's affect at terminals:

Lyon: Snow level (20cm); main rail operator is not able to receive any train or handle containers.

There is no snow in Burgundy, Bordeaux, Le Havre and Fos as of now.

*Please take into consideration that temperatures are below zero and therefore, when shipping wine, the use of a thermal blanket or reefer container is recommended.

French Strike Updates

October 29, 2010

Please review this Hapag-Lloyd update regarding strikes at Le Havre, as well as this update regarding Fos.

Strike update - Port of Fos

October 26, 2010

Please review this update received from Hapag-Lloyd regarding the strike situation at Fos.

Current strike status:

Le Havre: Doors blocked Oct. 21- reopening in afternoon; Oct. 22 - strikes again blocking main terminal entries
Fos: Permanent strike by dock workers two hours per day
Barcelona: Independent truckers called off strike Oct. 21; port activity will resume to normal

*Please note this Hapag-Lloyd update we received Oct. 21 regarding the current vessel status at Port of LeHavre.

*Please note this Hapag-Lloyd update we received Oct. 21 regarding the current strike status at Port of Fos.

Strike at Barcelona port

October 18, 2010

Independent truckers have started to strike at Barcelona port.  They have blocked all port entries, forcing the trucking companies to stop all loading and unloading at terminals.

*Please note - Tarragona Port is working normally.

Vessel situation at the port of Fos

October 15, 2010

Please review this alert from Hapag-Lloyd regarding the current strike situation at the port of Fos.

France Strike Update:

October 15, 2010

Le Havre Port: No possibility in/out.  Consequences on current shipments cannot be evaluated.
Fos Port: Will be closed Sat., Oct. 16; next strike is announced for Tues., Oct. 19.

French Unions Set Oct. 19 Strike, Extend Impasse Over Pensions

October 14, 2010

French workers and students have joined forces to protest against President Sarkozy's bill to raise the retirement age.  These strikes have grown to become a nationwide issue disrupting various transport operations.  Click the link above to learn more about this critical situation.

NY Port Operations UPDATE on ILA Work Stoppage:

September 29, 2010

"All NY terminals are ordering ILA labor to work vessels starting tonight at 1900 hrs. Terminals expect to be fully staffed and open for normal operations tomorrow, 9/30."

Shaken port continues to operate despite Christchurch earthquake damage

September 7, 2010

The earthquake that hit Christchurch, New Zealand early on the morning of Saturday, August 4, caused millions of dollars in damage. Lyttelton Port continues to operate, despite the significant disruption.

Terminals must expand to avoid congestion

September 3, 2010

Many terminal enlargement projects were put on hold during the recession.  Insufficient funds were used for more important operations rather than the expansions.  The hold on increasing the sizes was acceptable at the time, because the number of shipments had decreased. 

However, recessions do not last forever!  Shipping has picked back up and according to Drewy Shipping Consultant, if the expansion projects are not picked up again, terminal congestion will return.

Plans to increase terminal and trucker efficiencies

September 1, 2010

CMA CGM has released the following Chassis Update effective November 2010.

Congestion returns to Rotterdam

July 21, 2010

Three day delays, having been caused by profusion, have caused some lines to consider congestion surcharges.  Lines are looking into cost recovery from their customers to help pay for losses such as extra fuel consumption and additional operational costs.

Charlotte Maersk blaze is extinguished after 11 days

July 20, 2010

Sunday, July 18 was a day of relief, for the Maersk Charlotte’s flames were finally stifled.  The deplorable event started on July 7, which counts eleven days that the vessel was in flames.  It is now being unloaded and all undamaged cargo is being delivered to its customers.

Pirate attacks on the decrease

July 16, 2010

The International Maritime Bureau has reported a decrease in the number of pirate attacks from the first half of 2010 as opposed to 2009.  Improved vessel management operations, as well as world navies, have been a beneficial factor in helping lower these numbers.  However, sea piracy is an on-going threat to our waters.

Containers still burning a week after fire on Maersk ship began

July 14, 2010

The Charlotte Maersk still holds over 100 burning containers near Malaysian Port Klang after a week of flames.  With temperatures reaching 1,000 degrees Celsius, the line cannot estimate when the fire will be extinguished.  Luckily, none of the crew on the vessel was harmed.

An alternative route to achieving energy efficiency and greener shipping

July 12, 2010

Moving towards a greener shipping method could cause lower costs and less damage to the environment.  How do we go about becoming more green?  Newer technology, as well as improved operational procedures and ship design could all contribute to helping sea trade become greener.  The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has addressed these ideas and is focusing on ways to grow towards it.

Friday Focus: Surcharges

July 9, 2010

Ocean carriers have been raising surcharges in order to stay afloat during this period of container shortages.  Many are going to hit record peak season surcharges (PSS) in order to make up for their losses from last year.  The following article depicts some examples of what is to come in the next few months, as well as opinions on the matter.

Container shortage 'could last two years'

July 6, 2010

A severe demand for shipping containers continues to afflict the import/export industry.  Researchers have noted that at least six million new boxes are needed, which could take up to two years to generate.

U.S. Ports Expand Capacity to Meet Growing Demand

June 24, 2010

A recent study by Jones Lang LaSalle (real estate specialization) shows expansion activity in U.S. ports’ futures.  With import traffic up almost fifteen percent since mid 2009, there is more demand for ports to amplify the framework needed to support the larger volume of shipments.

Agencies Issue Grape Moth Advice

May 26, 2010

The European Grape Vine Moth is a common pest to many grape growers and vineyards alike.  How do you go about controlling its population? Napa County, California has experience in dealing with this nuisance, having had many infestations.  The following article contains information about the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s quarantine procedures and recommendations on how to restrain these pests.

CBP, CPSC Sign Agreement to Promote Consumer Safety

April 26, 2010

Consumer Product and Safety Commission (CPSC) personnel are now able to access CBP’s automated systems for import safety risk evaluations due to the signed agreement between Alan Bersin and Inez Tenenbaum.  This agreement is very important for the future protection of consumers against harmful goods.  The following article sheds some light on this understanding.

CBP's news release