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What you need to know about North Atlantic trade

     Container ship

This Market Intelligence Minute is a natural follow up to last month’s article on the West Coast ports.  This time we’ll talk about the situation on the East Coast ports.  As always, it takes less than 60 seconds to read, but it could be the most important thing you review today.

  • The unusually bitter cold winter in combination with record snowfalls took their effect by slowing operations in Canada’s East Coast ports, particularly Halifax, with the major ocean carriers struggling to deliver reliable service schedules.
  • With the return of warmer weather, the situation has improved considerably, with ocean carriers’ sailing schedules back on track and containers moving well between the Ports of Halifax and Montreal on rail to Toronto.
  • The North Atlantic trade still remains strong with higher rates than normal, mainly because volumes have exceeded carrier capacity.
  • Low water levels in the St. Lawrence Seaway have forced carriers to reduce vessel capacity and make up that loss by implementing a Low-Water Surcharge.
  • With demand up and capacity tight, ocean carriers are looking to implement General Rate Increases (GRI), and some are so busy they are reluctant to even quote rates for new business.
  • Some carriers have announced launching new, larger vessels later this year to meet the increased demand for capacity and replace aging vessels plagued by mechanical problems.

Quick Tip #24
Are you using the latest Incoterms?

Make sure your contracts of sale include the appropriate trade term in conjunction with the words “Incoterms 2010”, which came into effect January 2011.

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