Market Update | April 2021

April 8, 2021

Get the latest on Operations and Carrier updates. Got questions, comments, or need assistance? Our team is ready, don't hesitate to contact us.

At Crane Worldwide Logistics, we are equipped to navigate the changes to best support our clients. We will continue to monitor the situations globally to keep you informed.

To see our previous updates, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Center. For the latest on Brexit, follow this link.

Many countries have entered lockdown; however, all our facilities and warehouses are still operational. We have warehouse space available, ground transportation options globally, book air charters, and fill space on ocean carriers.

Ocean Update

Ocean Port Status 

  • Seattle/Tacoma: Some exports are being left behind due to vessel schedule catch-up.
  • Oakland: Vessel wait time is three days. Nearly 20 vessels are waiting to discharge, including ten container ships.
  • Los Angeles/Long Beach:
    • Vessel wait time is 5+ days—over 30 vessels are waiting to discharge, including nearly 20 container ships.
    • IPI On Dock Rail delayed 5+ days.
    • Major Chassis shortages, delaying MLB/Doors, average LALB MLB dwell is 3+ days.
    • Due to the limited availability of workers, delays for vessels, rail, and trucking are expected to continue into summer 2021.
  • New York/New Jersey: Vessel wait time is 3-4 days. The closure of empty container yards has disrupted trucking operations.
  • Montreal: Longshoremen have not responded to Maritime Employers Association's latest offer for a truce that ended March 21. The union doesn't intend to strike for now, but lack of an agreement could stop port operations at any time.

Commercial Air Operations Update

IATA released an information page listing airlines' status globally, which is free for all to access. Visit the page here.

Charter Operations and Aircraft Availability

What charters do Crane Worldwide Logistics have available?

  • Capacity is available for charters globally. Contact us for current rates and availability.
  • If you have an opportunity, send us the details, and we can work on the current part charter capacity and pricing. Charter prices are based on current availability, and that could change rapidly. Size and rates have been fluctuating a lot over the past few days.
  • Crane Worldwide Logistics must have a signed charter authorization from our client before signing the charter contract with the provider.  Make sure you have someone standing by to sign agreements; capacity and rates change quickly.
  • On all charters, funds must be received from our client before wheels up.

Air Freight Update

  • ASL Airlines - Cargo carrier ASL Airlines UK has operated its first flight after receiving its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and operating license from the UK Civil Aviation Authority. The carrier's first flight was operated by an ATR72-200 freighter aircraft from East Midlands Airport to Belfast International Airport. The aircraft will operate at Belfast International Airport daily from ASL Airlines UK's new base at East Midlands's Airlines UK said it's UK AOC is for the operation of cargo flights on a single route. Still, it is looking at opportunities to grow its domestic UK network and is applying for an EASA Third Country Operator (TCO) authorization for cargo flights from the UK to Europe. The carrier added that it will be closely aligned to ASL Airlines Ireland with common standard operating procedures and shared support services. "This corresponds to ASL Group's program to harmonize operations, remove unnecessary duplication, and the creation of 'centers of excellence' serving all airlines," the company said.
  • Qantas / Air New Zealand - As Australia and New Zealand are preparing to open a two-way travel bubble, Qantas and Air New Zealand are ramping up flights. Starting from April 19, 2021, Australia and New Zealand will open a two-way quarantine-free travel bubble, permitting air travel between the two countries once again. The countries shut their borders in March 2020. Since October 2020, Australia has reopened its borders to New Zealanders, but New Zealand is only returning the favor now. In response to the news, the biggest airlines across the Tasman Sea ramped up flights on the two-way bubble to most of the pre-pandemic level. Qantas Airways to reinstate 83% of Australia-New Zealand flights and its low-cost arm Jetstar are restarting flying to all pre-COVID destinations in New Zealand and launching two new routes direct from Auckland to Cairns and the Gold Coast. In total, both airlines plan to operate up to 122 return flights per week across the Tasman on 15 routes starting from April 19, 2021, Qantas outlined in a statement. The reinstated flights amount to 83% of pre-COVID capacity on the Trans-Tasman. In comparison, the airline has been operating less than 3% of its pre-COVID capacity as part of the existing one-way bubble. The high number of reinstated flights "reflects an elevated level of expected demand for what will be Australia's only international destination for at least the next six months, moderated by the fact that international tourists (beyond Australia and New Zealand) normally account for about 20% of the passengers flying between the two countries," according to the statement. "Qantas and Jetstar will look to grow capacity and the number of routes as the market recovers," the statement read. Air New Zealand is loading bubbles as it prepares for "reuniting Kiwis and kangaroos," Air New Zealand said it would ramp up flights between Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown and eight of its Australian ports starting from April 19, 2021.
  • Singapore Airlines - Hong Kong banned for two weeks after a COVID-19 infected passenger arrived in the country on board its flight. Hong Kong banned Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY) for two weeks after a COVID-19 infected passenger arrived in the country on board its flight, the South China Morning Post reports on April 2, 2021. The infected passenger arrived in Hong Kong (HKG) on a Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY) flight SQ882 on March 31, 2021. Three other passengers on the same flight were found non-complying with the local disease control rules, according to the publication. The flight SQ882 is a regular daily flight from Singapore (SIN). The airline operates it with an Airbus A350-900. Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY) flights between Singapore and Hong Kong are banned from April 3 until April 16, 2021.

Ground Update

United States

  • All signs point to higher freight demand in the near term with no immediate capacity relief. Port Congestion is prompting shifts to alternative routes – East Coast – causing volatility in the trucking industry. With Truckload capacity remaining tight, contract rates appear to be 10% over last year. Contracts also appear to be of much shorter duration as shippers and carriers deal with a highly volatile market. Spot rates moderated somewhat the previous week, with contract pricing surpassing spot quotes. Spot rates are still close to the highest point achieved in mid-2018. Spot load posts on the DAT load board were up nearly 130% YoY in March, but capacity continues to be an issue, with truck postings falling almost 7% YoY. YOY comparisons don't tell as much right now due to the impact of Covid on last March and April. Dry Van National Average rate per mile was down 4 cents last week to $2.65 and 9 cents lower than average contract rates by lane. Flatbed capacity remains very tight.
  • Class 8 tractor orders jumped 424% over last March (Covid Impact), to 40,000 but down about 10% from February. This demand level is well above the replacement level and takes into consideration anticipated economic recovery. The truck manufacturing industry struggles to deliver these orders in 2021 due to supply chain and semiconductor constraints. Actual order fulfillment in 2021 will be determined on the supply side and not demand in the market.
  • Diesel declined 1.7 cents to $3.14. The second week in a row it has declined but remains almost 60 cents more than a year ago.
  • The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) annual 72-hour safety blitz is set for May 4-6. Inspectors will focus on vehicle mechanical fitness and driver's hours of service. HOS violations were the top out of service category for 2020. Operation Safe Driver Week will take place July 11-17 and focus on speeding and risky driving behavior in and around commercial vehicles.
  • Rail volumes were up close to 16% last week and YOY comps are skewed by the impact of Covid this time last year. As an example, intermodal volumes are up 25% from last year. Intermodal trailers and containers—at 289,170—rose 25.8% annually, topping the week ending March 20, at 282,270, and trailing the week ending March 13, at 290.052.
  • The lack of available capacity, congestion, rate impact, and transport delays have made it to the C level and into publicly traded quarterly reports. Multiple Fortune 100 companies have called out supply chain challenges in their latest earning reports to impact their margins and bottom-line results. Full truckload carriers continue to struggle to provide coverage into the first quarter of this year and costs/rates have increased. Demand continues to outpace supply. Outbound tender rejection rates shot up last week, exceeding 28%. They have been consistently above 25% since mid-February. This, along with a 4% increase in outbound tenders, caused the rate per mile for dry vans to increase 6% last week.
  • The rise in "nuclear verdicts" in lawsuits is threatening the trucking industry. The average verdict size on lawsuits involving a truck crash increased 1,000% from 2010. "Nuclear Verdicts" – those where a jury awards surpass $10 million are driving up insurance rates to unaffordable levels, causing many carriers to leave the market. The trucking industry sees this as unfairly punitive and biased against trucking companies and the insurance industry lobbying for tort reform in many states.
  • The chip shortage that has plagued the automotive industry is also impacting the production of Class 8 Tractors. This will affect the supply of tractors for an industry that has pumped up orders into 2021. Supply chain constraints are also having an impact, in addition to the chip shortage.

Global Border Crossing Status and restrictions

  • Facilitated by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, read more here.

Land Borders

  • Sixfold have a free application that maps out European borders with live information on crossing times. Read more here.

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