The first quarter of 2020 has proven to be a challenging one for Canadian importers and exporters.
Canadian transport activities continue to experience significant disruption as a result of the CN rail blockades, weather impact and the Coronavirus.
While CN has called back the majority of its staff, rail services continue to be impacted across the country. The significant backlog of trains both on tracks and in yards will take many weeks of recovery time.
Container traffic is moving, albeit slowly. Congestion persists with both CN as well as CP. While CP was not directly impacted by the blockades they have also reported significant delays attributed to higher volumes. In response to the blockades many exporters converted cargo movement to CP in an effort to continue shipping.
Congestion and backlog at the Ports of Vancouver and Montreal are at critical levels, resulting in significantly reduced throughput levels.
The industry is also reporting significant delays with line haul movement into Montreal. A number of ocean carriers offered the expedited service option during the course of the blockage however, the accepted volumes were mismanaged resulting in a capacity short and subsequent cargo delays. Movement into Montreal is being further impacted by the commencement of the spring thaw and its reduced weight restrictions.
There remains a high volume of cargo roll over and splits.
The insurgence of the Coronavirus has presented additional challenges for Canadian exports.
Very low cargo volumes from China to North America since the start of the Chinese New Year combined with the supply chain disruption of the Coronavirus has resulted in more than 100 blank sailings in the Transpacific trade lane across the industry. This is more than double the number of blank sailings seen post Chinese New Year in years past. Ships are now overbooked and sailing full from Vancouver. The challenge of fewer vessels calling is equating to space limitations and high volume roll over.
The reduced inbound volumes out of China are also significantly impacting container equipment flows. Many inland locations across Canada are experiencing a lack of empty equipment.
We are working hard to find alternative solutions to keep your cargo moving and your supply chains fluid. We encourage you to reach out to your customer service team to discuss any shipment specific concerns. Our knowledgeable team will do all possible to answer any questions you may have. Your patience and support is appreciated.
We will continue to provide updates as they become available.
HENSALL GLOBAL LOGISTICS