Covid-19 Update | A look at America

Covid-19 continues to cause delays, surcharges and uncertainty around the globe. As ACF works to minimise the impact on customers and stakeholders, we wanted to share the latest from a partner in America, highlighting the extent of the issues being felt in the states.

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“Within the last 7 days California has seen 298,813 new Covid-19 cases (the largest new infection count in the country).  California has had 2,781,039 total infections, as opposed to Illinois which has seen 46,742 new Covid-19 cases in the last 7 days.

The USA has had a total of 22,965,957 cases, 1,715,510 within the last 7 days, a total of 383,351 deaths.

Vaccine doses distributed to date = 30,628,175

Total number of people that have had the first dose = 11,148,991

The reason we start this update with the above is to lay out the groundwork for the insidious effect the virus is having on the supply chain.  Virus caused labor shortages have hit the country hard and even more so in Southern California.  Longshoremen, truck drivers, warehouse workers, train operators, front end, back end, clerical, admin, every possible piece of the supply chain is suffering from Covid-19 caused labor shortages.  If you take an average warehouse with 15 warehouse staff and one employee comes in with Covid-19 – unaware of even having it – by the time that employee has symptoms the entire staff can be infected.  A trip to the lunchroom, rest room, handshake, whatever means it can find.

Now consider that there are significant increased import arrivals, dozens of ships anchored or in a “drift-box” pattern offshore, unprecedented declines in schedule integrity (as low as 50.1% in November 2020, down -29.5% compared to the same period a year ago.  This all adds up to a severely unbalanced supply chain. We are finding the biggest issues to be the imbalance of containers, chassis, and most of all the slipping of cut off days in which terminals will allow loaded export containers to be in-gated.  An interesting fact I came across was that China, who is the largest container producing country, delivered 2.6 million 20’ containers last year, with more than 70% being produced in the second half of the year.

As vessel departure dates are being delayed (due to the vessel arrival being delayed) the published earliest receival date at the terminal pushes back.  We are not being notified (in many cases) of when we can in-gate a container for a specific sailing until 2 to 3 days prior.  The lines will not release equipment for a sailing until they have a sail date.   We need to scramble to first locate a container, load it, fume for BMSB, in-gate.  It is impossible to do.  The sailing integrity (lack thereof) is unprecedented and causing many delays, missed sailings, and backlogs at terminals, trucker depots, and forwarder warehouses.  The US east coast is starting to feel the pressure as well.   Let’s just all hope this improves, and we don’t see any labor disputes in the near future which would bring things to a grinding halt.

In short, all of us want you to know we are working hard to deal with many factors that are out of our control.  Surcharges, waiting time, delays, missed sailings are all just some of the events we are trying to manage.  Our airfreight product from JFK, ORD, and LAX is running regardless of COVID issues.”

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At ACF as a leading freight forwarding provider in Australia, we’re committed to providing our customers will critical trade, freight and cargo updates. Keep checking in for the latest news.