A Global Market Insight

by Claudia Corbeil- Team Lead / Import, Ocean Division

The ocean market is currently going through unprecedented times. For the past several months, the vessels, ports and trucks/rails supporting the cargo logistics have stretched beyond their capacity. Ships have been waiting significantly longer than usual in both Asian and North American ports, leading to vessel delays and in many cases, up to several weeks behind their scheduled arrival dates.

As a result of the ongoing pandemic, there has been a significant increase in demand. This, added to port congestions, equipment shortage and space issues, prices have drastically increased. Because space is so hard to secure, premium charges are often applied. Therefore, steamship lines are overbooking their vessels: if they end up with no space availability for scheduled bookings, they cancel or bump shipments. Surely, the less profitable bookings will end up being the cancelled/delayed ones.

Ocean carriers have implanted recovery vessels in order to cover the volume spike, however it will take a few months before the situation smoothes out. Fleets are now fully deployed, and steamship lines are still facing capacity issues. Many carriers have implemented recovery plan schedules to bring vessels back in their intended positions, which will result in blank sailings  for one to two weeks.

The Suez Canal situation was another unfortunate event to the challenges we are facing. More than 300 ships were stranded in the Canal for a few days, causing increase of equipment shortage and added delays.

Finally, there is a partial strike going on in the Port of Montreal, which will affect vessel rotations and create delays and congestion.

Because of all these challenges we are facing, we are never totally protected from departures being delayed or space being cancelled last minute by the carriers. We are doing everything we can to create solutions for our customers and we are putting pressure as much as possible to obtain needed space & equipment. It's important to keep in mind that premium rates & shipping guarantees are prioritized by the carriers. We strongly suggest ordering goods from suppliers weeks, and even months before needed scheduled delivery in order to receive your merchandise in time.

We thank you for your usual collaboration and don’t hesitate to contact us If you have any questions. We are here to assist you during these challenging times.