COVID-19 | Ocean Industry Updates

Ocean Transportation Updates

Week of September 21, 2020

Australia: Sydney's Port Botany is facing severe congestion and backlogs at the port, causing some vessels to divert the port altogether and ocean carriers enforcing port congestion surcharges of approximately $300 per 20' and $600 per 40'. 

Week of July 6, 2020

No major updates to report at this time.

Week of June 1, 2020

India: We are closely monitoring Cyclone Nisarga as it makes expected landfall near Nhava Sheva and bracing for impact on port operations.

Maersk and MSC: Extending the suspension of their AE2/Swan Asia-North Europe and AE20/Dragon Asia-Mediterranean loops.

Week of May 11, 2020

South Africa: Sea ports are operational, with cargo now being able to be delivered to final destination without special registration by consignee. We’re seeing congestion and shortage of truck availability due to high volume of cargo stored and having to be delivered.

Week of April 20, 2020

Singapore: Announces additional extension of 'circuit-breaker' through June 1. Ports and airports still operational.

April 14, 2020

India: Lockdown extended until May 3, ports and CFS are exempted from lockdown however operating with limited resources for vessel loading and offloading at the terminals. Cargo movement in and out of terminals/CFS are operating with limited resources. Primarily these are focused on essential goods.

April 10, 2020

Hapag-LLoyd: Due to the lockdown imposed by the Government of Bangladesh to fight the coronavirus outbreak, the slowdown in the clearance of imports has resulted in terminals & CFS’ becoming congested. Congestion is resulting in reduced space to discharge imports and notably reduced availability of reefer plugs.

April 8, 2020

Brazil: Government quarantine has been extended through April 30. Ports are operating with minimal delays but imports and exports for essential cargo continue.

April 1, 2020

India: Ports are operating with minimal labor crews, but imports and exports for essential cargo continue. Carriers are beginning blank sailings for the region since life-saving essential equipment is taking priority. This is expected through at least April 14.

March 26, 2020

South Africa: 21-day lockdown in effect. Only essential cargo will be permitted at the ports. 

March 25, 2020

New Zealand: Transportation and ancillary services such as customs and other border agencies remain operational. There may be delays due to reduced vehicle capacity and the priority to move food and medicinal goods.

India: Seaports are operating with limited resources for vessel and loading and offloading at the terminal. Cargo movement in and out from terminal is only permitted for essential cargo as stipulated.

March 24, 2020

Vanguard: Offices are fully functional (except Wuhan), all warehouses, ports, and transporters are also working. This includes all countries or US states which have declared various ‘lockdown’ directives, the warehouse operations are considered essential services and exempt from closure. 

March 23, 2020

India: Major ports Nhava Sheva and Mundra are at a standstill with regard to EXIM container movements as the local traffic and authorities are not allowing truck movement unless they are for emergency life savings items. All CFS under this port vicinity also has been asked to close down operations. Other ports like Hazira, Chennai, Kolkata are operating with limited resources and at any time these ports will also be asked to cater only essential and lifesaving products service. 

March 20, 2020

Port of Miami: Due to extremely low import volumes caused by blanked vessel sailings, POMTOC will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, 3/23/2020 and 3/24/2020.

March 17, 2020

Hamburg: On the operational side, vessel and terminal operations continue to operate normally, but we are seeing some terminal closures, primarily in Los Angeles and Seattle, due to decreased throughput. All depots and warehouses are reporting normal operations. Additionally, we are not having any reported issues with trucking capacity. However, we are continuing to see some equipment supply issues due to the decreased imports over the last months from the COVID-19 impact in Asia.

March 13, 2020

Maersk: COVID-19’s impact to container equipment flows worldwide has far-reaching effects as many of you have experienced with your export bookings here in North America – and the lack of empty equipment in many inland locations - and full ships sailing from North America ports (most of our vessels in North America are full and/or rolling cargo now). This was caused by very low cargo volumes from China to North America since the start of Chinese New Year combined with the supply chain disruption of the Coronavirus. There have been more than 100 blank sailings in the Transpacific trade lane across our industry - which is more than double the amount we normally see post Chinese New Year. As a result, here in North America, we are focused on supporting the equipment demands of a very strong export market and the inherent challenge of fewer vessel calls to load export cargo. Equipment shortages in inland locations are being seen in: Toronto, Chicago, Atlanta, Columbus, Cleveland, Detroit, Fort Worth, Kansas City, Louisville, Memphis, Nashville, Phoenix. In addition, these locations are particularly restricted: US Gulf: Houston & New Orleans impacted by significant blank sailings and low equipment stocks; Pacific Northwest: Vancouver impacted significantly by blank sailings. North America exports to Middle East, India & Pakistan: Space restricted due to significant blank sailings from Europe reducing our vessel space on connecting vessels.

March 11, 2020

Hapag-Lloyd: The congestion in Chinese ports has eased, berthing operations have improved and the terminals have resumed to normal working conditions. The reefer plug availability has also improved so that we currently do not have to divert cargoes on a large scale anymore. 

In light of these developments, we will cancel the Reefer Adjustment Surcharge (RAS) regarding all reefer cargoes destined for Mainland China ports with immediate effect.

March 6, 2020

No new updates at this time.

March 3, 2020

Hamburg Sud: Yard congestion for reefer containers and high utilization of on-dock reefer capacity are still critical in Shanghai and Xingang. An increase in import reefer throughput into Ningbo terminal has also led to yard density to reach critical levels. In general, trucking capacity has increased and the number of daily units being processed is slowly increasing, but still significantly lower than normal throughput. In the interim period, we are working on temporary solutions, while ensuring to maintain the cold chain for all reefer containers. If customers elect to make a change of destination, we will waive the usual
change of destination costs. 

March 2, 2020

ECU: Space overall is consequently becoming extremely tight on a lot of Transpacific services including the Middle East and Indian Sub-Continent regions, leading vessel operators to announce multiple GRIs for the months of March & April.

February 27, 2020

Hamburg Sud: The plug shortage in Shanghai and Xingang has not improved in recent weeks and in fact has been worsening also in the surrounding ports. For that reason, we will be expanding the scope of the congestion surcharge by adding Ningbo. We recommend customers, when possible, to ship to other Chinese destinations in order to avoid the congested ports. This recommendation is particularly important for transit time-sensitive chilled commodities. For cargo already in transit, we will offer free change of destination
for those customers who decide to divert the cargo to other Chinese destinations. 

February 27, 2020

ONE: New bookings to/from all ports in Hubei province including Wuhan are temporarily suspended, and
our staff will continue to liaise with customers who have shipments already in progress to discuss the
most appropriate course of action for these.

February 24, 2020

Evergreen: Due to most of the China main ports reporting the reefer plug shortage they are starting to refuse discharge of the reefer shipments in the past few weeks. We may not be able to deliver reefer shipments as planned. We request the shippers’ involvement for those cargoes already arrived in China, please help us to push consignee to pick up the cargo as soon as possible, for the cargo in transit to China, we need to know your intention if you will deliver those cargoes to other ports or return to port of loading. Please understand most of transit port such as Singapore, Kaohsiung, Hong Kong and Pusan are also facing serious congestion and plug shortage and they are close to announce their action plan soon.

February 21, 2020

No additional updates to report at this time.

February 18, 2020

Hamburg Sud: With the reduced demand caused by the extension of the Chinese holiday period to fight the Novel Coronavirus, we have been working to match our global network to the new situation and its impact on global container equipment flows. We are working to mitigate this by redirecting
vessels and equipment where possible and will continue these efforts to serve your supply chain as we work to rebalance our network. While too early to make specific predictions, we will likely see ripple effects into some markets in the
weeks ahead that affect container availability. In North America, we are anticipating an impact on our import cargo flows from Asia to inland locations in North America. While we will do our best to ensure the impact is minimized, there may be
a period of equipment shortages in some locations to cover export bookings.

Hapag-Lloyd: All terminals and depots are now open. However, some are still operating at limited capacity. Furthermore, truckers shortage remains an issue.

Shipco: Due to the health crisis in China, there has been a considerable impact on the supply chain, inventories, transportation, etc and the resulting costs are significant. With Chinese factories likely not to resume full production for another 3-4 weeks, it will have a major and lingering impact for many businesses around the world. A need therefore may arise to activate contingency plans, simply to keep production going or to have retail inventory for sales. We already see air capacity reduced significantly with hundreds of passenger flights being halted. There are over 50% more blank sailings ex China in February this year versus last year. With less containers going to other markets, that can create a shortage of equipment in North
America and Europe. Port infrastructure challenges once all factories are back up to full steam is likely also.

February 14, 2020

ONE: May need to adjust the original transportation plan for reefer shipments to the Chinese terminals mentioned above. In such cases, this may result in the discharge of reefer containers at an alternative port without prior notice. Where operationally
viable, and in an effort to minimize loss and inconvenience, ONE shall endeavor to arrange onward transportation from the alternative discharge port to the originally intended destination
subject to reefer plug availability. In an effort not to compound the operational constraints and to maintain the safest operation
possible under these circumstances, ONE will encourage customers to consider a change of destination to other alternative ports, especially for time-sensitive cargoes such as fresh, chilled commodities.

At the same time, ONE has decided to apply a congestion surcharge (CGD) of USD 1,000 per container to cover additional costs related to the unexpected but necessary arrangement of shipments and associated plug-in charges, monitoring fees etc.

This measure is effective immediately for all Reefer cargo arriving into Shanghai and Xingang from 15th February 2020 onwards, and for regulated trades the effective date will be 14th March 2020 until further notice.

APL: With the extended Lunar New Year holidays and concerns regarding the spread of the Novel Coronavirus, terminal operations and pick-up of inbound containers in China have been slow. Consequently, most reefer plugs at the yards of all container terminals in Shanghai, Ningbo and Tianjin/Xingang are already being occupied. APL is then forced to divert Reefer cargo to other ports.To cover the additional costs, APL will apply a Port Congestion Surcharge of $1250 - this will be applied to the Consignee's account.

February 12, 2020

Vanguard: We have been notified that most carriers are not returning to work until February 17th. The assumption is that the general ‘return to work’ on February 10th will not result in cargo movement prior to the 17th. However, due to strong relationships with our carriers, we are able to reach their global and regional teams to ensure we are doing all possible to offer you the very best options and services. 

February 12, 2020

Hyundai: Due to the situation with the extended Chinese New Year and the Coronavirus, yard density for reefers is at a critical level. Given the uncertainty and potential for continued disrupted cargo flow, HMM will be implementing a Congestion Surcharge (CGS) to all destinations in China. This is not limited to Shanghai, Xingang, and Ningbo.

February 11, 2020

APL: Reefers bound for Shanghai and Tianjin - due to the novel coronavirus, most reefer plugs are already being occupied.

To facilitate cargo movement:

Reefer containers awaiting pick-up at container terminals in Shanghai may be temporarily stored and plugged on board a vessel docked alongside.

Reefer containers in transit to Shanghai or Tianjin may be re-routed for transshipment. Our local offices will be in touch with any affected cargo. 

Maersk: Official work-resumption is official in most provinces, most trucking suppliers have resumed operations as well. ICR service between China to Europe is gradually recovering.

Terminal operations continue as normal, with depots open and empty pick-up and laden return services working. Many off-dock depots remain closed but are expected to re-open in the coming days. 

Based on reduced cargo demand due to the extended holiday, a new blank sailing has been announced: TP6 cancelled sailing between Far East and North America MSC CAMILLE 008 starting Northbound Nansha, China on 21 February.

February 10, 2020

Hamburg Sud:

Port Congestion Surcharge | Reefer cargo from United States and Canada to Shanghai and Xingang, China

Due to the extended Chinese New Year holidays, yard density in the ports of Xingang and Shanghai have reached critical levels and we are forced to divert cargo as no reefer plugs are available at the terminals.

Hamburg Süd will, until further notice, continue accepting reefer bookings from United States and Canada to Shanghai and Xingang under the special conditions.

Chinese New Year Vessel Idling Program | Trans-Pacific Service

As we see a further reduction in demand due to the extended holiday period, below are additional void sailings:

  • To United States West Coast and Canada
    • 5 ASIA - USWC String 4 (TP9) ADRIAN MAERSK 005N Kaohsiung 02-Feb Busan 12-Feb
    • 7 ASIA - USWC String 2 (TP2) MSC BETTINA 007N Yantian 09-Feb Busan 21-Feb
  • To United States East Coast
    • 8 ASIA - USEC String 4 (TP18) CAPE PIONEER 008E Ningbo 17-Feb Busan 21-Feb



For Greater China Area: Port terminal operations continue. Warehouses, depots, offices follow instructions of local government to resume operations. Wuhan barge operations gradually resume operation and backlogs resolved.

Maersk Vessel Network: 7 blank sailings announced

  • AC2 cancelled sailing between Far East Asia and West Coast South America Maersk Stepnica 009N starting Northbound Lazaro Cardenas, MX on 23 Feb.
  • AC2 cancelled sailing between Far East Asia and West Coast South America CCNI Andes 012W starting Westbound Lazaro Cardenas, MX on 29 Feb.
  • AC2 cancelled sailing between Far East Asia and West Coast South America Maersk Savannah 011N starting Northbound Lazaro Cardenas, MX on 7 Mar.
  • AE10 cancelled sailing between Far East Asia and Europe MSC Samar 006W starting Westbound Xingang on 3 Feb (vessel will call proforma ports in Asia and stop in Tanjung Pelepas).
  • FEW 1 cancelled sailing between Far East Asia and West Africa Sime Genesis 205P starting Westbound Shanghai on 20 Feb.
  • FEW 2 cancelled sailing between Far East Asia and West Africa Maersk Cotonou 007W starting Westbound Shanghai on 13 Feb.
  • AE11 cancelled sailing between Far East Asia and Mediterranean MSC Oliver 007W starting Ningbo 16 Feb.


Australia port restrictions: In our customer advisory of 6 February, new requirements for all Australian ports were mentioned. Changes have been announced that only New South Wales (Sydney port) and Queensland (Brisbane port) are affected. All other Australian ports are allowing vessels to arrive on time with crew restricted to stay on-board while berthing, amongst other precautionary measures. To comply with these regulations, vessels on the Maersk network will face arrival delays into Australia. We are informing impacted customers directly.

Reefer congestion in Shanghai and Xingang terminals – congestion surcharge introduced: The ongoing reefer plug shortage in Xingang and Shanghai terminals has caused yard density to reach critical levels and we are forced to divert cargo as no reefer plugs are available.

Holiday Extensions: In line with work resuming dates post Chinese New Year, to best possible protect the safety of our people, most of our staff are working from home; while majority of mainland China resumes work Monday, 10 February.

OOCL: We have taken various measures to mitigate the potential effects on our vessel schedules and operations, including vessel speed adjustments to meet the quarantine requirement by some countries when necessary and maintain crew members on board the vessel if they embarked from ports in China in order to comply with port authority regulations.

February 6, 2020

Hamburg Sud: Some terminals outside of China have announced restrictions to vessels that have transited a port in the Greater China Area in the previous 14 days. Our customer service teams are actively monitoring transport plans to comply with local regulations and will advise in case of changes to transport plans as a result.

CMA CGM: Except for Wuhan, all CMA CGM Group operations including Terminal, Warehousing, Depots, Offices and other facilities continue to operate uninterrupted as per usual.

Load/Discharge moves at Wuhan port have been suspended until further notice. Our customer service teams are in close contact with all affected customers following up on shipment status and discussing alternative transport plans. 

ONE: New bookings to/from all ports in Hubei province are temporarily suspended, in greater China (except Hubei province ports, including Wuhan), all ONE container operations, including those at the terminals, depots, and other facilities continue to operate as usual over the extended Lunar New Year holiday period. 

February 5, 2020

Maersk: For the greater China Area, terminal operations continue with vessel loading and discharge at this point in time.

All the warehouses, depots and offices follow instructions of local government to resume operation. The barge operation from Wuhan gradually resumes operation and backlogs in the process are being resolved. 

February 3, 2020

HMM: Terminal operations remain functional, with the exception of Wuhan terminal. Crews are taking proper precautions which may involve more blank sailings, port-skips and vessel schedule changes. As a result of traditional slow activities during post Lunar New Year and the coronavirus, additional blank sailings will be implemented.

Hapag-Lloyd: As a result of traditional slow activities during post Lunar New Year and the coronavirus, additional blank sailings will be implemented.

OOCL: In consideration of this global situation, extra exemption period for detention calculation from 25 January to 9 February is being offered to our customers but excludes other items such as storage and monitoring fees. This arrangement is applicable to inbound and outbound cargoes of Northern and Southern China.