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Market Advisory

U.S. Truck Capacity Situation Causing Severe Problems for Supply Chain Community

February 23, 2018: US Trucking and Container Drayage Market Update

TOC LOGISTICS INTERNATIONAL INC offers this supplemental market update from our previous notice of under capacity and shortage of drivers in the US Trucking and Drayage Market;

The snowball effect resulting from the following current conditions, has reached critical mass:

  • Heavy gate congestion
  • A chronic lack of truck power (reduction of available drivers due to eLog enforcement)
  • A near zero availability of chassis’ at major ports and inland CY’s
  • Bunching of inbound trains ( including trains being held indefinitely at switching yards, due to no space to receive them at the next stop )
  • Lack of available railcars for ocean containers at inland ports
  • Increased container volumes, both import and export
  • Heavy snowfall and loss of yard storage

Vessel operators are now claiming FORCE MAJEUR in major ports and refusing to provide origin/destination “door” moves, leaving the NVOCC, Forwarders and, yes, even the BCO’s, to fend for themselves to get containers either delivered to the port or delivered to the end customer.

Vessel operators who have not claimed FORCE MAJEUR, have announced a line item increase to contracts of at least $300 per container to continue managing “door” moves under their existing contracts.

Further, because of the lack of availability of equipment, “dwell times” ( the number of days it takes for a container to be pulled from the port ) have risen, nationally, to 7-10 days; this is particularly important to understand because there are TWO surcharges at risk of being applied with this increased dwell time:

  1. Free days at the port hover around 5 days nationally; thus an extended dwell time causes port storage to kick in;
  2. Demurrage ( the number of days the container is away from the port before being returned ) has an industry standard of only 2-3 days, thus the extended dwell times and lack of actual equipment for either the delivery or empty return is now triggering per day demurrage charges.

Regarding demurrage charges, until now, these charges could be waived or greatly reduced so as not to affect the supply chain spend to volume customers; but now, in order to manage the increased costs of the current under-capacity market, vessel operators are applying demurrage without exception.

TOC Logistics International Inc must officially announce here that all demurrage charges by the vessel operators, NOT caused by negligence of TOC Logistics, will be passed on to our clients via a demurrage line item charge on invoices generated AFTER March 15, 2018.  Since these demurrage charges are unable to be forecasted, TOC Logistics recognizes the need to increase our attention to each client’s container reality and make every effort to provide advance warnings of additional charges; but we must state that this will not be a perfect solution or outcome and we will make appropriate notices as we are made aware.

The supply chain conditions today are not just challenging, but truly critical, and surviving this will be very expensive for ALL of us.  Please endeavor to stay closely engaged with your TOC Account Manager and/or Operations Representative to collaborate together on maintaining as smooth a supply chain as humanly possible.

 

February 5, 2018

TOC Logistics International, Inc. regrets to inform that the truck capacity situation in the United States is creating a severe problem to the supply chain community.

Our team received a letter from the 3rd largest vessel operator stating, “The US trucking industry is facing a growing shortage of qualified drivers in both the international and domestic markets. The shortage is having a dramatic effect on our ability to deliver freight in a timely and effective manner.” The vessel operator is experiencing a significant increase in service delays as a direct result of the current trucking situation in the United States.

This letter that we received in evidence of what the rest of the vessel operators and the NVOCC industry is facing.

This same vessel operator that sent us the above letter had also reached out to our team asking if we could handle dray moves for containers that were not TOC’s. This is proof that the situation is not just affecting long-haul FTL providers, but also port dray carriers. While there are many factors at play, the eLog regulations are playing a huge role.

The new US eLog requirements, which were enforced beginning December 18, 2017, have truly caused capacity reduction. In regards to the container dray carriers, the simple facts are:

  • Before December 18, 2017, dray drivers could handle up to five “turns” per day using manipulative log practices.
  • Since December 18, 2017, dray drivers who stick to strict hours of operation (11 hours per day), can now only do a maximum of three turns per day (based on average of 3 hours per turn).
  • Without reducing the number of drivers or equipment, the above results in a 40% reduction in capacity.
  • For longer dray runs, if a driver could previously do 2 turns per day, he might only now be able to do one. This alone will significantly drive up the price of the jobs, as it represents a 50% pay cut to the dray company/driver that must somehow be recouped.

Some of the impacts to NVOCC operations are:

  • A last-minute lack of drivers available to bring “empties” to a loading site
  • Lack of drivers available to deliver containers to ports to meet cut-offs
  • Drivers cancelling on one job in order to take a higher-paying job

TOC Logistics is committed to finding and having alternative options in place in order to keep our programs running on-time. However, should the capacity situation become a regular detriment to operations at current rate levels, all supply chain users must be prepared for expected rate increases.

Also, please note this article which details the troubles that some of the largest companies in the U.S. are facing when it comes to keeping their supply chains going, some of which includes paying DOUBLE the contracted rates for certain critical lanes.

The impact for 2018 supply chains is not yet fully realized or understood, but costs are sure to increase rather than stay static. Contracting long-rate validities does not guarantee capacity, which means “out of gauge” services will become more prevalent in order to keep supply chains moving.

We offer this market update for your information and benefit.