Dec 15

Back to Blog

 Look around, Leaves are brown, And the sky is a hazy shade of winter

6 minute read
James Byrne
 Look around, Leaves are brown, And the sky is a hazy shade of winter Featured Image

1,268 words – 5.4 minute read – Let’s do this!

I officially suck. I have been so submersed in plotting and planning the upcoming market changes that I have not done any gift shopping. We are all experiencing the rush of the changes yet to come. The pandemic market free for all days are quickly coming to an end. We all knew it was coming before we even knew of the craziness the last three years were bringing us and it takes a lot of strategizing to get back to the budget basics. The pandemic and post pandemic crazy supply chain spending was a lot like the holidays right? You start to get in a time crunch every day that passes closer to the holidays, desperation makes you blindly shop putting the budget factor at the bottom of your worry pile you’re your focus on just getting something checked off your to-do list, at any cost. Having a glutinous free for all of fun and nothing but fun matters. Then January 1st the high is gone, the bills pour in and the dreaded post-holiday annual doctor check-ups come in. The fun of the holidays has disappeared much like the high budget spending days in supply chain. Everyone is tightening ship – rates are coming down across the board in all sectors. Steamship lines and truckers are learning they no longer have the upper hand in the market. Most of us have lived this for years in the industry; less volume – means more capacity – means cheaper rates – means more competition. It’s nothing new, but there was a drastic nosedive in Q4 2022. We are all on a logistics diet now, no more fun and games just getting ourselves and the market under control again. That is the beauty of logistics professionals, stress is just a way of life – we deserve to enjoy the holidays and when it is back to business 2023 we so got this! 

Never say never… The Railroad Union workers are still hanging on to the hope that they will be granted the paid sick days that were at the heart of their threat to go on strike, if the Biden administration steps in with an executive order to grant the sick days. Workers have struggled to get their demands for paid sick leave through the months of negotiations with the freight rail companies and Congress. 

Last Friday, 70 Democrats in Congress signed a letter asking for President Biden or a federal agency to issue an order giving rail workers the seven sick days a year they were seeking. The letter stated an executive action, either by Biden himself, the Labor Department or the Federal Railroad Administration, is needed since the lack of paid sick days poses a safety hazard to the general public by having rail workers try to do their jobs when sick.

Rail union officials said they have been working with the administration on a possible executive action to get them the sick time that was the whole focal point of the contract to begin with. 

The unions argued they needed the right to strike to be given the opportunity to win things they were seeking at the bargaining table, like sick days. The rail unions are planning rallies around the country in support of rail workers, with the  lack of sick days being a major issue at the rallies. It will be interesting to see these rallies take place during the time that the pending ILWU contract negotiations are rumored to be agreed upon. This is big time industry market news to be monitored, at least there is something to talk about roiling into 2023.

Can you even believe it? Container import volumes are up this week, yay! TEU volumes increased 11.86% this week from last week with 17.8% coming into LA, 13.6% into New Jersey and 11.3% into Long Beach. I wouldn’t say it’s a mind-blowing market win, but it is something – and even better, we have capacity in all 3 areas and all the inland rails they could be headed to.  

Speaking of rails, there are still chassis shortages at the Salt Lake City rails and the Union Pacific in Dallas is still moving slowly with excess driver wait times.

What is going on at the ports this week? 

New Orleans : Another area that is having chassis shortages and wait times, port congestion is still taking place. The storm from this week could also add to further congestion, although the New Orleans terminals are open, there are currently 51 cargo/container vessels at anchor.

NY/NJ: There are still long wait times at PNCT, some drivers must wait an excess of 5 ½ hours to get their container mounted. There are still higher wait times at both Global Bayonne and NYCT as well. I have talked to a few drivers and they have heard gossip of labor shortages at all terminals.

LA/LGB : “Container Excess Dwell Fee” goes into effect December 16, 2022 – The penalty fees, first instated in November, are still in place. Check with your steamship line for the daily fee amounts.

All containers on terminals as of December 16th will be counted from their date of discharge, with charges to be assessed per the table in this advisory. Will this help shippers to get their containers out faster? With the 2023 cost savings push across all businesses, this fee could be pretty effective – and probably also a billing nightmare.

Oakland: Terminal Congestion is improving, but is still lingering and noticeable – Trapac Terminal is having all containers go into the closed area as soon as they discharge, where they remain for at least 2 weeks. There are no issues on empty returns. No restrictions are currently in place and all SSLs are taking back their empties. Our Oakland capacity is looking great – you name it and we will be there! We handle local drayage and longer miles.  

Reminder: With holidays next week terminals at all ports and rails will be closed or have minimal hours on December 26th. Please check terminal and rail websites for more information. 

Did you know? A massive winter storm blew toward the center of the U.S. on Monday with heavy snow, freezing rain, flooding, and even deadly tornadoes and this is just the start of the season. It is a guarantee that the winter hits hard every year in the mountains and high plain elevations and drivers passing through those areas are incredibly fearless and brave. Did you ever watch “Ice Road Truckers” back in the day? – those men and yes even women are machines, a different breed. That brings me to this topic – let’s talk about snow chain charges for a moment. A lot of people reading this newsletter often inquire about the need for a snow chain charge. Preventative measures need to be made to protect drivers, passengers and your freight – that is where snow chains come in. Just like putting snow tires on your own vehicles doesn’t happen with the snap of a finger or without a labor charge, it takes a lot of effort for drivers to chain their tires to conquer the conditions ahead, while being outside braving the elements in the most unsafe conditions. If you have further questions on the topic of snow chains, our Midwest, Denver and Oakland teams are full of knowledge and are always available to share their expertise! 

Contact the leadership team via

~ Jill Rice

Import Volume Charts

James Byrne