Coronavirus Effect on Supply Chains

Coronavirus Effect on Supply Chains

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is upending global container volume demand and rippling through containerized supply chains.  That's sending shockwaves to all freight transport modes, from trucking to air cargo. 

The widening impact COVID-19 is having on retail and manufacturing demand is creating the need for two importing speeds. Cargo owners such as apparel and automotive importers want to delay receiving goods for now-closed brick-and-mortar stores and production lines, whereas importers shipping personal protective equipment (PPE) and essential household consumer goods want them faster.  Against that backdrop, carriers, forwarders, port authorities, and marine terminals are warning of a cargo bottleneck if more Western importers fail to pick up containers when they arrive, causing port congestion and inland equipment shortages that will slow down the broader supply chain.

Bookmark this special page for regular updates on how the industry is responding.

News & Analysis

30 Sep 2022
Spot rates in the eastbound trans-Pacific are dropping so quickly — and by such large amounts — that industry analysts warn carriers could soon be carrying containers at a loss.
02 Feb 2022
A trucker blockade at a small US-Canada border crossing will bring big cost increases for cross-border shippers, as US carriers begin to embargo or reroute freight hundreds of miles.
31 Jan 2022
A willingness by carriers to deploy more sweeper ships to evacuate empty containers, and carry empties from competing lines, will have a major impact on mitigating an important source of congestion, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach say.
27 Jan 2022
The Port of Vancouver is trying to restore cargo fluidity that has been disrupted from punishing rain and snowstorms that have hit British Columbia’s rail and road infrastructure over the past two months.
26 Jan 2022
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach want to give the temporary extension of a fee on daytime container moves more time to determine if truck moves during the off hours increase substantially.
25 Jan 2022
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are considering an innovative but complex plan to reduce the number of empty containers that are contributing to terminal congestion by incentivizing shipping lines to increase the volume of containers they pick up during each call.
21 Jan 2022
Yantian International Container Terminal (YICT) and Shekou Container Terminal are restricting the number of export containers they will accept in an effort to clear an existing backlog of boxes in advance of the Lunar New Year holiday on Feb. 1.
19 Jan 2022
Despite an expected return to single-digit monthly increases in imports from Asia this year, already-stressed US ports are still likely to struggle to handle cargo volumes.
07 Jan 2022
Retailers are pulling back somewhat on their growth projection for imports because global supply chain problems will continue to restrict cargo volumes moving through US ports.
04 Jan 2022
Employers and the ILWU fear that the spike in COVID-19 cases that surfaced about two weeks ago in Los Angeles and Long Beach is set to explode over the next two weeks, meaning historic vessel congestion could worsen.
27 Dec 2021
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach once again postpone the long-dwell container fees as a major terminal operator in Long Beach imposes fees of its own.
17 Dec 2021
A slight year-over-year decline in imports from Asia in November from near-record volumes a year ago appears to be the result of thousands of containers idled on vessels sitting outside congested US ports.
15 Dec 2021
Congested marine terminals, chock-full warehouses, and chassis shortages are likely to create a high level of supply chain disruptions throughout 2022, experts told JOC’s Port Performance North America webcast.
08 Dec 2021
Retailers project continued strong imports into 2022, with no traditional post-holiday slack period, as sales remain strong and ports work overtime to reduce vessel backlogs.
03 Dec 2021
An extreme shortage of warehouse and distribution space across the US, fueled by record imports and last-mile demand, will continue to push up lease rates well into 2022, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.
23 Nov 2021
Tension is mounting on the West Coast as the ILWU formally rejected an employer offer to extend the existing coastwide contract for one year beyond the July 1, 2022 expiration date.
17 Nov 2021
Although US imports from Asia were down 2.4 percent in October year over year, it was the third-busiest month ever for containerized imports from Asia.
10 Nov 2021
Port managers and terminal executives in Los Angeles-Long Beach look to emergency fees on long-dwell containers and sweeper ships to vacate empty boxes as their best bet to relieve congestion amid record vessel arrivals.
08 Nov 2021
Speeding the discharge of import containers from vessels and through congested marine terminals is becoming increasingly urgent as retailers rebuild their depleted inventories, let alone stock store shelves for holiday sales.
05 Nov 2021
A clean truck fee in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is expected to generate more than $90 million, money that will be used in part to provide direct grants to truckers for zero-emission vehicles.
05 Nov 2021
The Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccination and testing mandate for large employers will affect truck capacity and pricing, but questions about the extent of its impact remain.
04 Nov 2021
Port congestion at major European hubs and supply-side disruption across the regional logistics chain continues to put the brakes on factory production.
03 Nov 2021
A truck driver survey underscores the threat of potential service disruptions from an upcoming US vaccine mandate for large employers, with 36 percent of drivers showing no interest in vaccination.
02 Nov 2021
Trucking companies are seeking an exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate being implemented by the US government for large employers, which they say would further disrupt already tight US trucking capacity.
29 Oct 2021
A new agreement between California and the Biden administration seeks a more unified approach and “innovative” federal financing for port infrastructure projects that could speed goods inland.
26 Oct 2021
The ongoing semiconductor shortage is reducing deliveries of new trucks in North America and threatening the addition of much-needed capacity in 2022, and perhaps beyond.
20 Oct 2021
Supply chain disruption is slowing economic growth, but “postponed” demand is expected to reemerge in 2022, keeping US freight capacity tight and transportation pricing high.
15 Oct 2021
A flood of imports into the Pacific Northwest is boosting spot truckload rates out of Seattle as shippers facing delays and intermodal container shortages seek new routes for freight moving inland.
13 Oct 2021
Even as the Biden administration works to ease US port congestion, fresh data on September imports from Asia shows stakeholders have their work cut out for them.
30 Sep 2021
The import surge in Seattle-Tacoma this past month has filled local warehouses beyond capacity, crippling the transportation supply chain in the Pacific Northwest.
24 Sep 2021
Pinched at both Asian load ports and US receiving ports, trans-Pacific carriers in August registered their fourth consecutive month of deteriorating on-time performance.
23 Sep 2021
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and their terminal operators seek quick relief from congestion problems as vessel bunching reaches historic levels.
23 Sep 2021
A rapid evolution in how US shippers contract with truckload carriers is driving growth at Emerge and drawing $130 million in fresh private equity funding to its digital procurement platform.
22 Sep 2021
Chassis providers warn that only the easing of import volumes, and the resulting reversal of rising dwell times, will relieve tightness in equipment supply as production capacity is maxed out.
21 Sep 2021
Demand fueled tonnage growth at for-hire contract carriers in August, according to the American Trucking Associations, but supply chain disruption and shortages still constrain overall capacity.
20 Sep 2021
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach promise quick action to extend gate hours amid record cargo volumes, but their suggestions need buy-in from terminal operators, truckers, and shippers.


With so many products currently subject to Trump administration tariffs, a huge portion of entries from China will not be eligible for CBP's recently announced COVID-19-related duty deferral program.

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