Weekly Shipping Updates – USA Imports / Exports

There has been no shortage of shipping challenges this peak season – we have them all: port congestion at origin and destination from demand or labor issues, imbalance of containers at origin especially for reefer equipment or flexi grade units, chassis supply shortages, and new tariffs on USA exports.  More than ever we have to be creative with transport solutions to minimize the disruption.  Reach out to your Hillebrand representative to find transport alternatives for your current shipment challenges.

Spain –  the ongoing strike / work stoppages at Bilbao continue to disrupt shipments and container supply.  As mentioned last week, at least the good news is potential strikes for additional ports were called off.  Expect delays in vessel schedules and container positioning or additional charges for re-routing cargo to alternative ports.  

Australia / New Zealand – the situation continues to worsen and New Zealand is impacted by the shipping line delays in Australia (shipping lines service both areas in their rotations).  With the existing backup, carriers are omitting Auckland port calls and this affects the supply of container equipment at origin, particularly for flexi grade units, but for all equipment types at present.  Expect delays for shipments for imports from Oceania and surcharges for Auckland and Sydney.

Equipment supply– peak season on reefer supply is not a new challenge, but delays securing equipment across Europe (particularly France) is exceptional this year.  Shipments will be impacted throughout the end of the year at minimum.   

Chassis units / US imports – the volume buildup since late July has continued to exceed the available supply of chassis units and issues will likely continue through the end of the year.  While demand is increasing at all inbound deep sea terminals, and rail ramps, the most notable areas are on the US West Coast.  See more about Los Angeles / Long Beach here.   

US Exports – demand for empty container turnaround on the transpacific trade (to position boxes at origin) is so high that ocean carriers are prioritizing moving empty units over loaded exports units on outbound vessels and changing receiving windows.  For shippers of bulk wines and bottled wines or spirits, which are heavier than other commodities, carriers are tightening restrictions on tonnage weight as well.

Shipments to the United Kingdom – The UK is the latest area to implement congestion surcharges.  Charges vary per shipping line and origin region; see announcement from MSC for North America


Hillebrand as our freight forwarding partner is working to find solutions to minimize the disruption for our members wherever possible. 

To improve outcomes, we encourage the following:

  • Work with your local offices to provide advance notice on bookings to secure capacity and vessel allocation.
  • Adjust lead times and spacing of booking to give the most flexibility on available services (transit times) and shipping volumes per week.

Reefer supply:

  • Consider Hillebrand insulation options for seafreight from origin.  For inland destinations across the USA, Hillebrand’s Winter Wine Program is available to cross-dock freight into heated trucks for delivery to door.

Rush orders via airfreight:

  • If current delays for ocean shipment, or securing equipment will jeopardize your timelines, Hillebrand offers airfreight options as well.

Should you have any questions or need more information please contact your Hillebrand representative.  You can also manage pending shipments, pickups, invoices, set up alerts and more on myHillebrand.