Coronavirus COVID-19 - Ocean Freight Update

March 18, 2020

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Ocean freight Update

Crane Worldwide Logistics is continuing to take preventative measures to ensure all of our employees stay safe during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Currently, all of our locations are in operation and we do have a thorough continuity plan in place to ensure there are no service disruptions. 
Note below our ocean freight transportation updates on operations and carriers relating to the impact of the COVID-19 virus on ocean freight operations.

Note that the situation regarding the Coronavirus epidemic is moving quickly and this update is valid as of 18th March, 12pm EST. 

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China’s ocean freight operation is back to normal. Manufacturing activities are also in the process of returning to normal. Domestic trucking is gradually improving in China. Most truck drivers are back on duty. Space remains tight as additional void sailings are announced by ocean carriers.
8 additional blank sailings are announced by the 3 alliances between week 13 and 15. Total of 82 blank sailings from Asia to US West Coast from early February to early April. Blank sailings are expected to decrease by end of April. TPEB rates increased on March 15th. Additional GRI are expected to go into effect on April 01st. There has been an increase in spot rates. Wuhan operations are still closed and the expected return date is unknown at this time.
Advanced bookings are still recommended for all trade lanesAdditional fees are expected to be applied by ocean carriers into and out of China. 

Ocean carriers are starting to cancel additional reefer surcharge in China. Carriers previously announced an additional surcharge for all reefer containers due to heavy congestion and lack of plugs.

USA - United States of America 

All terminals are open and most are working normal hours. Terminal operators in Los Angeles-Long Beach have posted almost 60 gate closures during either the day or evening shift from Monday through April 1. Reduced terminal gate hours impact container returns. While some carriers have advised they will waive any detention/per diem if return locations are unavailable, others might still be charging the fee. 

Seattle/Tacoma port announced some terminal closure same as Los Angeles/Long Beach. Oakland/San Francisco port may reduce hours due to mandatory restrictions on travel around the area. Oakland seaport is exempted from Bay Area lockdown. Officials are meeting with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union to determine what staffing levels are needed on the docks. The majority of East Coast and Gulf Coast ports in the US are still operating at close to full levels. NY/NJ port operating on reduced hours and reduced staffing operations. Georgia Ports reduced gate hours due to low volume. Port Everglades is going to be operate 4 working days starting 19 March. Operations will be closed on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. 

Equipment availability is becoming challenging especially in some inland locations. Due to low import volume exporters have been dealing with scarcity of empty containers for weeks. Ocean shipments to and from the United States are still moving. Ports are being asked to remain open in support of the supply chains of pharmaceuticals and food. Ocean carriers are still trying to provide weekly sailings in order to keep these supply chains open. However, they are indicating that they may have to phase vessels out of rotation due to substantial operational losses incurred on near empty, or empty sailings over the past several weeks. GRI from U.S. is expected to go into effect on April 01 from ports from inland origins due to limited equipment supply. Equipment and space availability is still an issue.  
Free time requests are starting to become restricted globally. Existing free times are being honored so far.


Ports and offices are working normal hours. There is a slight delay in Intermodal (rail) services due to backlog from February Blockades/shut down. The situation is being monitored closely. Equipment availability is not a concern at this time. Drayage and trucking operations are running smoothly. 


Space and equipment shortages are being reported in all locations. Factories are slower in production. Atlantic trade is still relatively stable. Rate increases announced for export to North America and Mexico. Italian ports are exempted from coronavirus lockdown and remain up and running. In Italy, Genoa port terminal announced to reduce the number of staff and operations all depending on volume. Some ocean freight carriers announced to move their fleet to La Spezia port for the time being. Trucking costs are expected to increase also. Other Italian ports are exempted from lockdown and remain operational. Ports in Spain are working with limited hours but fully operational. There is no report of any port closure at the moment. Trucking shortages are being reported in and out of affected countries.
There is a mandatory 14 days quarantine implemented in some countries for truckers coming from Italy.  

Middle East/India Sub-Continent 

Space availability to Asia continues to be an issue. There has been a significant rate increase with this. The Indian government issued a mandatory screening for all inbound vessels coming from affected countries. 

Latin America

Ports and operations are running smoothly with normal hours. Due to transitioning of market rate increase in expected for service to Asia in the coming weeks.
Service to US and Europe is running smoothly with no significant issue. Most ocean freight vessels are reportedly moving full.

We are here to help during this period of uncertainty, reach out to your local sales representative or contact us here with your inquiry

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