Italian Strike Update, Shipping Drayage and Intermodal Advisory for October 13, 2021

Italian Strike Updates
Tensions are running high at major Italian ports between terminal operators and truck workers.  At Genoa, container terminal freight offices were temporarily closed and in turn truckers blocked the terminal entrance gates and disrupted the major highway tollbooth in the area.  Emergency meetings seem to have called off activity that was planned to continue to October 17th, although the situation is still very fluid.

At Trieste, a blockade was called for Friday October 15th and may be an indicator of potential further labor action spreading to airport and other transport sectors.  The dispute stems from a required health pass showing proof of vaccination to go to work. 

Prepare for disruptions on pending containers loading or departing from Italian ports this week. 

USA Port Updates
Vessel waiting times, one indicator of port congestion, have increased dramatically in Southern California, Seattle and Savannah.  Landside operations are slowed by terminal yard capacity, chassis availability, trucking capacity, and receiving warehouse availability.

For a snapshot of congestion by US port (vessel berthing and terminal yards) and intermodal conditions jump to the US Port & Intermodal update report here

Europe to North America 
French dockworker trade unions have called for a 24 hour strike at Le Havre port on Friday October 15th, 2021.  There will be no container operations (empty pickups or loaded container deliveries) that day.  Even one day of a port terminal closure takes roughly a week to recover the backlog in normal times.  However due to the current global shipping crisis, there is already a backlog of cargo from strong demand on this trade lane and this will only extend delays for cargo in one of the busiest months for shipping.  

​​​​​​Oceania / New Zealand
A new health outbreak at Patrick’s Terminal in Melbourne has taken out of roughly half of available labor due to quarantine protocols.  The planned labor action has been called off for Melbourne terminal only, but two 24 hour work stoppages are planned for remaining Patrick Terminals at Sydney, Brisbane and Fremantle. 

Any port disruption affects vessel schedules and the re-positioning of containers both in Australia and New Zealand.  Available equipment for flexitank for bulk wine shipment is directly impacted. Planned vessel sailings from New Zealand to the USA will skip Oakland every other vessel through the end of November.  The fortnightly service from Adelaide to the Oakland has been reinstated but vessels stop at Papeete which restricts the loading capacity on these vessels. 

South America 
San Antonio port terminals have also experienced higher than usual closures from severe weather this season (high winds and surf conditions).  Vessels have omitted port calls if they cannot berth and when vessels can operate they have to restrict vessel weight due to conditions. This is especially disruptive to vessel schedules for cargo destined to US East Coast / Gulf ports because the vessels also have to wait for Panama Canal crossing scheduled slots as well.  

Freight moving from Argentina to Chilean ports have additional seasonal delays from winter closures on the cross-Andes corridor, so prepare for even longer transit times. 

​​​​South Africa
Equipment is in short supply in particular in the Cape Town and the port is still recovering from the backlog caused by earlier terminal outages. Ocean services are still delayed an average of 4-5 days and vessels have skipped Cape Town and Durban port calls to improve schedule reliability which results in further delays for export loads.  

For more information on pending or planned shipments, please reach out to your Hillebrand representative to discuss the best possible arrangements for transport, warehousing, insurance, and customs compliance needs.