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April 2019 Newsletter

A monthly roundup of our Industry Updates, Blogs and Market Information

2019 Japan Golden Week - Reminder

Japan Golden Week is traditionally a collection of four national holidays within seven days. This year, Emperor Akihito, 84, is set to abdicate the throne on April 30, and the Emperor’s elder son, Crown Prince Naruhito, 58, is scheduled to accede to the throne the following day. This unprecedented event will create a rare 10-day Golden Week holiday period in Japan which will extend from Saturday, April 27 and run through Monday, May 6

It is possible this extended holiday period may affect shipments with Japan routing. At this time, we are seeing some overbooking for export shipments routed via the Port of Tacoma/Seattle. As a result, some Japan export shipments may be routed via the Port of Long Beach.

If you have questions or concerns regarding the movement of your freight during this period, our customer service team is available to assist. As always, we will monitor the situation and provide any updates as needed. 

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Nationwide Japan Port Strike 

Please be advised of a labor dispute which may impact your shipments. Negotiations between the National Federation of Dockworkers Unions of Japan and the Japan Harbor Transportation have suspended. As a result, Sunday, April 14-Tuesday, April 16 the Union called for a nation-wide port worker strike.

There is a potential for additional planned strike dates on Sunday, April 21st and during Golden Week from Sunday, April 28 - May 5. It is reasonable to expect some shipment delays if these strike dates occur as container backlogs are addressed.

As always, we will keep you updated of these and any additional strike days that may result from this ongoing labor dispute. Meanwhile, our customer service team is available should you have questions regarding the status of your shipments.

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Panama Canal 45' Draft Restriction Could Change

According to an April 12 article in the Journal of Commerce, an ongoing dry spell brought on by El Nino weather conditions has forced the Panama Canal Authority to impose a 45' draft restriction on vessels moving through the Neopanamax locks. The 45' restriction will have a limited impact on vessels that currently transit the Canal, however if the dry spell does not end over the next 20 days, the Authority may reduce the draft to 44 feet, a level that will have an impact on vessel traffic.

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The FMC announced it will monitor the Impact of Low-Sulfur Fuel

There is widespread expectation that shippers will see increases in container rates when the International Maritime Organization's January 1, 2020 deadline for low-sulfur fuel goes into effect. On April 4th, US Federal Maritime Commission Chairman, Michael Khouri told the Senate Commerce Committee's Security Subcommittee the FMC will monitor the issue.  "The commission is monitoring this issue because of our interest in an efficient marketplace and to ensure that carrier efforts to recover costs associated with the new standard do not violate the Shipping Act." He also stated "A primary concern to the commission under the Shipping Act is whether ocean carrier bunker charge adjustment formulas are clear and definite."Newsletter Spacer Line 600.jpgDelays at US-Mexico Border could Impact Truck Traffic for Weeks

There is currently a severe congestion problem along the US and Mexico border that is impacting cross-border shipments. Recent developments with immigration on the US Southern border have prompted the Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) to announce they will redeploy resources to the border. Please note operations have been affected due to re-assignment of CBP Agents to help in processing migrants at other border ports, the potential for increased delay at US Southern Border ports is very likely. 

On Wednesday, March 27, 2019, Andrew Meehan, Assistant Commissioner for Public Affairs conducted a press conference in El Paso, TX. The entire press conference can be found on the CBP website HERE.

We can also provide the following points.

  • North bound rail shipments have not been affected.
  • 15-20%, roughly 750 agents, have been re-assigned to help CBP agents with the immigration problem.  
  • Some lanes are closed at Word Trade and Columbia Bridges and the number of shipments being process in those locations has decreased. CBP is looking for solutions on how to open all lanes Monday – Friday & close on weekends
  • Smaller ports like Nogales, AZ and Eagle Pass, TX have begun closing on weekends.
  • Estimated border crossing time for trucks is 4 hours from the time it processes MX Customs. This does not include the line that they make to get to MX Customs which is miles long.

We recognize that any interruption in the normal flow of your shipments is costly. At this time, we strongly advise our customers to prepare their loads sooner in order to avoid additional delays. This situation is fluid and we will continue to monitor and provide updated information as it becomes available.  

Interested in learning more about our services? Contact Us

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