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  • Writer's pictureJoseph O'Donnell

Ocean carriers experiencing severe backlog of vessel bookings.

Ocean carriers are experiencing severe backlogs of vessel bookings that are greatly affecting U.S. exporters that are still operating as the USA approaches its second month in quarantine.

In other words, primary ocean carrier vessel services are fully booked until mid June at the earliest. Currently Outer Seaways has experienced this issue mostly with the ocean lanes from the USA to the middle-east.

Furthermore, the little vessel space that is currently available is on service lanes that host double transshipments that extend the transit time to roughly 60 days for shipments between the USA to the middle-east, shipments which usually take between 35 - 45 days.

Ocean carriers were already reducing vessel sailings and operations since the Chinese new year in late January, which was extended by the Covid-19 outbreak in China.

Also, the level of imports and exports from the USA have taken a dive downward as many businesses began shutting down or greatly reducing their operations

The virus entered pandemic status between late February and mid March which caused a continuous decrease of vessel operations. Yet, there are a number of companies that have still been operating at moderate levels and shipping materials overseas throughout this period.

It seems that more companies have slowly begun restarting their operations and requesting bookings well in advance to ensure they can obtain space for upcoming shipments, which is causing ocean carriers to experience these month and a half long backlogs.

At this point it is highly unlikely that exporters or importers of U.S goods can obtain bookings on standard transit services to certain areas like the middle east by requesting bookings a week in advance

Outer Seaways recommends that our customers ask us about vessel availability to regions at least 2 to 3 weeks prior to the desired sailing date so you can better coordinate your operations and limit your inventory space.

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