USA: Sea freight slowed down at the quay

a. hartrodt sees need for optimisation in port terminals and carrier's haulage.

"Logistics issues do not play a role in the US election campaign," regrets Mike Schaefer, President/CEO at a. hartrodt (U.S.A.) in Lynbrook, New York. In his opinion, there is a need for action in the sea freight sector for the future US president, who will be elected on November 3, 2020: "The infrastructure at port terminals must become more efficient," he says to the address of the responsible authority, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). Currently, there is container congestion on the West Coast due to "capacity constraints". As an example, Schaefer mentions the second largest US port after Los Angeles in Long Beach.

Demurrage & Detention annoy customers

For customers of a. hartrodt, penalties for late collection and return of containers to the port (demurrage & detention) are an annoyance. Schaefer explains the problem: "Everything that is more than 200 miles/320 kilometers away from the port is usually transported by rail. The shipping companies control this pre- and on-carriage". In freight forwarding, this is called "carrier's haulage" – and in this context Schaefer misses transparency.

Growth markets Europe and South America

Even though the USA is heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, Schaefer observes that international business is recovering: "We have not yet reached the volume prior to Corona, but the number of individual jobs is coming back". While full container load in sea freight is recovering more slowly, the volume of air freight consignments has almost returned to pre-Corona levels.

As growth markets, Schaefer mentions Europe and South America, other important trade lanes are Australia/New Zealand and East Asia. In Miami, a. hartrodt operates its own warehouse focusing on South America – according to Schaefer, demand is growing "very strongly". Customers in Europe must be aware of this difference: In the "International Commercial Terms" (Incoterms), "FOB" (Free on Board) in the USA means "EXW" (Ex Works). "This leads to misunderstandings and increases costs for the customer," says Schaefer.

A total of 36 employees work for a. hartrodt (U.S.A.), also at locations in Chicago and Los Angeles. Due to the trade dispute, a. hartrodt USA has hardly any business with China.