Hurricane Irma Still Making A Major Impact

Over the weekend, Hurricane Irma changed course a bit and spared Miami a direct hit.  Instead, the storm veered west and made landfall in the Florida Keys, causing much damage to the small islands and all along Florida’s West Coast.  Storm surge and winds were a major factor throughout Florida and over 6 million residents are currently without power.  The now tropical storm, continues to make its way north through Florida and into Georgia.

Ports of Miami and Everglades remain closed today, Monday, September 11th. Officials are waiting for Irma to completely pass through before they can make decisions as to when ports would begin to re-open.  Once Irma completely passes through, officials will begin to assess the damage to determine when ports can begin to re-open.  Although, Miami was spared the brunt of the storm, Irma has wreaked havoc on the US Supply chain and ports along the Southeast Coast are preparing for what could take up to 6 months to recover.

Georgia Port Authority continues to keep ports at Savannah and Brunswick closed as they also wait out Irma and can then begin post facility assessment. South Carolina Port Authority announced Charleston will cease operations at 2pm today in anticipation of strong storm surge as Irma tracks north.  Port of Charleston expects to re-open tomorrow morning.  Port officials along the Southeast will continue to give updates on port closures and re-openings as Irma continues to move north through Georgia and the Carolinas in the next 24 hours.

Port updates can be found, and

As always, our thoughts are with all who have been impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and we are here to help in any way we can.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding your shipments.


(Photo courtesy :Lionel Chamoiseau/AFP/Getty Images)
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Hurricane Irma Continues to Shake Up US Southeast Supply Chain

As Hurricane Irma works its way to the US Southeast, ports and carriers continue to prepare for what is anticipated to be disastrous to shippers and their supply chain. Ports from Miami to Savannah are rerouting and rescheduling shipments and this will continue through the weekend until early next week.

With predictions of Irma making landfall in Florida early Saturday morning, Captain of the Port in Miami established Hurricane Port condition Yankee as of Friday at 8:00am. Procedures like these are created by the US Coast Guard and will be in place for the Port of Miami, Miami River, Port Everglade, Port of Palm Beach, and Port of Fort Pierce. With expected gale winds to arrive within 24 hours, this means affected ports are closed to inbound vessels along with other restrictions listed for condition Yankee. Cargo users are still advised to contact Port Miami’s terminals directly for regularly updated information.

In response to Hurricane Irma and its current path, the Georgia Ports Authority will also cease all operations at the Ports of Savannah and Brunswick, effective Saturday, September 9ththrough Tuesday, September 12th.  For more information and updates on these ports visit

Alongside port closures, carriers such as Evergreen issued a Force Majeure notice as of yesterday afternoon, diverting certain vessels from Florida destination, to Savannah. This only proving the impact Irma has on transport will become more severe as it travels north effecting more ports and carriers along the southeast coast.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your shipments.



Aerial view of the Dutch Territory of Saint Maarten.
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Florida and the US Southeast Coast brace themselves for Hurricane Irma

Following on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, Irma will once again test the supply chain on the US Southeast Coast, as well as the Gulf Coast.  According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Irma, a classic Atlantic tropical storm, has sustained Category 5 cyclone status for nearly 2 days. It is the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic basin outside of the Caribbean Sea & Gulf of Mexico and it will bring with it strong winds of more than 180 mph, storm surge and potential flooding. If Irma makes landfall as predicted, it will set a new record; the US has never experienced two storms of this magnitude within one hurricane season.

As of Wednesday, the US Coast Guard notified the Port of Miami, Port of Everglades, the Port of Palm Beach in South Florida, as well as Port Canaveral, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Manatee, Jacksonville and Fernandina that port condition WHISKEY will go into effect. The condition was set due to the expected gale winds of 25pmh to 40mph arriving within next 72 hours.  Commercial vessels and barges greater than 500 gross tons need to report to the US Coast Guard Captain at the port with their intention to depart or remain in port.  Along with this, the Coast Guard has advised any vessels bound for any South Florida ports unable to depart in the next 24 hours prior to these winds making landfall that these vessels should seek alternate destinations, as vessels are already changing routes and schedules ahead of the storm.

This morning, port officials at Port of Miami advised that the port offices remain open while it continues to monitor the storm system. However, terminal gates at POMTOC and SFTC are closed while Seaboard Marine remains open, receiving containers only. Cargo users are asked to contact Port of Miami’s container terminals directly to check on schedules and closures:

The Albatrans office in Miami will be closed today to allow employees to safely evacuate in anticipation of the storm and the NY headquarters office will be receiving all calls for Miami business.

We will continue to track and monitor Hurricane Irma’s arrival and the effects to all US Southeast ports. Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding specific containers/shipments.



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Impact of Harvey continues to affect Texas Ports

Days after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on the U.S. Gulf Coast, Texas ports are still working on getting reopened. Task force officials, headed by the Coast Guard, are in the beginning stages of assessing the conditions of the ports to determine what needs to be done before vessels can begin returning to the ports.  As of Wednesday, the ports of Houston, Texas City, Galveston, Corpus Christi and Freeport were reopened for some vessel traffic including tugs and barges, but not without restrictions, and traffic is only allowed during daylight hours.  Deep-draft ships are still prohibited in all ports.

The Port of Houston, which oversees two thirds of U.S. Gulf container traffic, including 40-50 vessels going in and out every single day, is hoping to be up and running fully by September 4th. One of the biggest concerns causing the delays is the tremendous amount of water which is being dumped into the channel.  It is estimated that 20 trillion gallons of water has been brought on by Hurricane Harvey.

Port officials said they are taking it one day at time in hopes that the reopening of container terminals and warehouses can be fully functioning sooner rather than later, to avoid further interruption to shipments and port operations.  Steamship lines that were able to avoid the Houston ports before the storm hit, have begun rerouting vessels to other ports, but with the majority of the Texas ports still shutdown and/or not running to full capacity and no set date for resuming of regular schedules, customers have been warned that cargo shipments could see substantial delays.

The Journal of Commerce continues to update a helpful resource list that includes updates from logistics companies and transportation companies.

As always, if you any questions/concerns regarding your shipments in that area please, email us!


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West Coast Updates

ILWU Contract Extension 
It is hard to believe we are already talking about the West Coast ILWU  (International Longshoreman) contract.   The contentious labor dispute over the contract renewal in 2014, led to massive congestion and delays caused by worker slowdowns.  Negotiators eventually enabled a new contract to be signed in early 2015, but with a short validity, expiring July 1, 2019.   The contract covers 29 ports, including the major hubs of Oakland, Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Seattle and includes 20,000 longshoremen employed on the west coast.  The good news is that the ILWU has ratified a three-year contract extension with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), extending the contract until July 1, 2022.  The contract extension will raise wages, maintain health benefits, and increase pensions in the 2019-2022 period, but avoids potential conflict and disruption in 2019.
Pier Pass

Effective August 1, the Traffic Mitigation Fee (better known as PierPass)  increased in the port of Los Angeles and Long Beach by 2.3%.  The new fee is $72.09 per TEU (twenty foot equivalent unit), and $144.18 per forty foot container.  The fee is charged only on containers that are moved between 3:00 am and 6:00 pm on weekdays.   PierPass is not charged for containers moving in off peak hours (6pm to 3am on weekdays and 8am to 5pm on Saturdays).  While Pierpass has certainly diverted trucks off the roads and freeways during the busiest times of the day, many companies who do not operate 24/7 carry the burden of the additional fees for using the ports during peak hours.  Should you want any additional information or resources on PierPass, please contact WSSA and we are happy to assist.

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Cosco Takes Over OOCL Shipping Lines

After months of rumors, last week Cosco and Shanghi International Port Grp. (SIPG) put in an offer to acquire Orient Overseas International Grp (OOIL) and their container shipping line OOCL. If and when the two companies combine, Cosco plans to hold 90.1% of OOIL’s shares, while SIPG will hold the remaining 9.9% of the shares. OOIL and OOCL are known to be a well run company, and a trusted brand with substantial profits. The container line OOCL has a fleet of 66 vessels, with an estimated teu capacity of 440,000. With the combination of OOLC’s fleet and Coscos fleet of about 550 vessels, Cosco will become the third largest container shipping company in the world.
To read more about the potential merger, click here. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!
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Traffic Mitigation Fees Increase in California Ports!

As of July 1st, 2017, long-shore wage and assessment rates have a combined increase of 2.3% at the Ports of LA/LB. To match these adjustments, the West Coast MTO Agreement announced that the Traffic Mitigation Fee (TMF) at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will also increase by 2.3%, taking effect on August 1st, 2017.

Beginning August 1st, the TMF will be $72.09 per TEU or $144.18 per forty-foot container. This charge will only be on containers that are moved on weekdays, between 3:00am and 6:00pm. For containers moved during OffPeak shifts (6:00pm to 3:00am on weekdays or 8:00am to 5:00pm on Saturdays), there will not be a TMF.

The use of OffPeak is intended to allow regular night and Saturday work shifts to handle the moving of containers via trucking at the 13 container terminals in the two adjacent ports. The OffPeak program was launched by PierPass in 2005, with the intent to reduce cargo-related congestion and air pollution on roads around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. PierPass is a not-for-profit company created by marine terminal operators at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach to address multi-terminal issues. PeirPass implemented TMF to help offset the cost of operating extended gate hours, leading to a reduction in labor costs. This fee is used as an incentive for cargo owners to use the OffPeak shifts to avoid TMF, as a result nearly half of all port truck trips presently take place during the OffPeak shifts.

According to an analysis by maritime industry consultants SC Analytics, in 2016 it cost the terminals $224.7 million to operate the OffPeak program. As a result of TMF, the terminals received $182.7 million that year, offsetting about 81% of the program’s costs.

Issues have been brought up in regards to the OffPeak program. The incurred issues include unjustified rate increases, gate operation inconsistencies, and PiersPass’s lack of correlation between the gate charge during the day versus during night operations.

We will continue to keep you informed of industry changes such as this one. If you have any questions, please contact us!  For more information about PeirPass, please visit their website.
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