Recent Trends in Shipping – Change in ERD; Amendment Penalties

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Dear Partners,
 
We have noticed an increased instability in the schedules of the steamship lines’ vessels. This has been happening a lot on the US West Coast for over two years now, due to: blank sailings, labor issues, port congestion, increased size of vessels at the same size of terminals, inclement weather, etc. Recently, after the big shuffle due to COVID-related shutdowns or slowdowns, we have seen the same effect on the US East and Gulf Coast ports. 
 
When a vessel is delayed, the open window to accept containers at the port shifts immediately. The ERD (earliest receiving date) may change after the empty container is pulled for loading, or even after loading, while the container is on its way to the port. When that happens, the trucker is denied access to the port, and has to return to their yard until the new receiving date. That translates to added charges for the cargo-owner, as storage, chassis rental, redelivery.
 
How we mitigate: We negotiate with our trusted truckers for minimal, or waived storage, or redelivery fees for you.
What you can do: Be flexible with your load dates, avoiding the beginning of the vessel open dates. 
 
As you heard at our Virtual Logistics Forum a few days ago, steamship lines are continuing to consolidate – Safmarine is being absorbed by Maersk, to be complete by the end of 2020. As a result, staff is laid off, and more functions are handled electronically. 
 
How that affects you: Any event that requires a person’s touch, is discouraged through high charges – manual booking corrections, Bill of Lading amendments (parties, cargo description, weight, etc.). These fees can be anywhere from $100 simple correction, to $500 for a change in destination.
What you can do: Double-check your shipping instructions for accuracy before sending.  If a change is needed, please request it 48 hours before sailing (with minimal, or no penalty.)
As always, we are here to identify and help you with any issues, or situations that may avert your attention and resources from your humanitarian missions.
Thank you for your valued partnership.