Regional Updates in North America

Updates on the impact of COVID-19 in North America

+++ last updated on 17 September +++


  • All of the U.S. and Canada operations continue to run normally with most of our employees doing telework. We are ready to service your transportation needs. 
  • Phases of reopening have commenced across the U.S. and Canada with varying protocols and restrictions.
  • While we continue to have essential staff in our offices handling your documentation needs, we are encouraging all customers to:
    - Use all available digital tools on our website at or on the Hapag-Lloyd App (Web bookings, E-Shipping Instructions, Quick Quotes, Navigator, etc.)
    - Use email for general inquiries (email addresses can be found in the “Offices and Local Info” section of our website) and phone calls for urgent matters / escalations only.
    - Visit terminal websites for the most up to date information.

Terminal Operations

New York/New Jersey Terminal Update:

Terminals – USNYC

High berth utilization and congestion are still a major factor as delayed vessel arrivals are running upwards of 7 days.

During week 37 there were 5 vessels reported at anchorage awaiting berths at various terminals, while numerous other vessels have slowed down to coordinate their arrival with the opening of their designated berth.  Changes of rotation for vessels to call other ports first, instead of sitting at anchorage for a week in New York until they have a berth, have increased slightly.  Yard utilization is being reported anywhere between 60% - 85% at various terminals, respectively, as import dwells continue to be much higher than normally expected, and still stand at an average of around 7 days.  

Empty stock levels are once again becoming an issue, as surplus, in conjunction with the extended dwell import volume, is causing productivity issues for some terminal yard operations.  Gate turn times are still above expected established service levels, although not as high as they were last week.   

Four of the New York terminals are offering Saturday gates to facilitate increased import deliveries.

Terminals – USPHL

Berth utilization and congestion continues to be very high and is expected to extend through the end of September.  Current vessel delays now running up to 5 days versus proforma schedules.  For some services berth congestion in New York is impacting arrivals in Philadelphia and causing vessel bunching.

Yard utilization is being reported near 100%.  High yard utilization is affecting productivity on both the vessel and land side. Large empty inventories continue to impact operations.  Night gate hours next week will be on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings  (Sept 20 through Sept 23 ).

Terminal is offering a Saturday gate to facilitate increased import deliveries.

Savannah Terminal Update:

Currently 23 ships at anchor as of September 17th. Ships are delayed up to 5-7 days average awaiting berth assignment. The new first come - first serve started Aug 28th is making no difference thus far. Berth congestion continues with minimum 20 ships at anchor each day this week. The number of containers at GCT remains elevated at more than 76,000 as of Monday 9/13.  Ongoing projects - GPA's Peak Capacity project: 30% complete. This will add 800,000 TEUS of annual capacity in two phases. Phase 1, which opens in December, will deliver 3 new rubber-tired gantry crane rows. Phase 2, to be complete in spring 2022 will add a 4th rtg.  /// Berth 1 improvements 12% complete -  expect completion 2023 /// Eight new ship to shore cranes - 15% complete - the new cranes arrive in 2023 ///  Dredging resuming in October will not affect berthing of vessels like it did a month ago - it is maintenance dredging only and will run thru Jan 2022. The expansion behind 7-8-9 will be complete end of October.  Gate running fluid - turn times 43 single / 60 multiple since Monday - 55,958 moves. Rail running fluid with moves 5,730 since Monday @ 35 hours dwell time.  Yard Utilization 96%.

Houston Terminal Update:

Currently 3 ships at anchor as of September 17th.   The port was closed early on Monday 9/13 and all day Tuesday 9/14 due to Hurricane Nicholas.  No damages were reported to the terminal.  Barbours Cut terminal is at 75% utilization.  Crane 4 will be down for another week due to a new hoist motor replacement.  Crane splits per ship are improving and ILA is supplying up to a total of 12 gangs in the port as part of the new program to flatten peaks and valleys. There were no labor shortages reported during the last week.   Lack of chassis continues to be a persistent issue due to the high volumes.    Reefer plugs remain an issue with all plugs being utilized and require chassis this all wheeled area.  COVID cases in the area continue to be a serious issue.  Additional 3 cranes are planned by first quarter 2022, bringing the total amount to 10. 

Oakland Terminal Update:

Currently there are no ships at anchor or drifting in the San Francisco Bay area as of Sept 17th.  OICT berth availability has greatly improved with berth delays down to 0 days.  Three cranes in berth 55 are in the process of being dismantled. Import rail loads are taking longer than normal to move off the terminal and OICT continues to use their off dock CY to move local imports out of the pads to expedite space. Trapac berth delays have improved and vessels are receiving berth upon arrival. Import space has greatly improved with yard utilization down to 42%.  Many lines have decided to bypass OAK leading to this terminal now being underutilized. Reefer plugs in Trapac are also becoming an issue as they are longer able to use generators on the terminal.  Strict receiving time tables for reefer receiving will soon be implemented to ensure reefers are properly handled and not dwelling.  Truckers and shippers are encouraged to pick up freight and to use the night gates to help the situation.  

Seattle/Tacoma Terminal Update:

All Seattle/Tacoma terminals are operating at full capacity. There are currently 11 ships at anchor awaiting berth as of Sept 17th. Berthing delays in Seattle are up to 16-18 days at this time due to heavy volumes.  Saturday gates at Husky are now being offered to alleviate backlog of imports. Terminals are not accepting empty containers until vessels sail making room for additional inventories.  Additional space has been provided to hold empty containers at T-5 in Seattle and West Hylebos in Tacoma allowing some additional empty returns for Hapag-Lloyd. T18 in Seattle and Husky / WUT in Tacoma have started to pile import containers in inaccessible areas until there is additional space in the transrows as imports depart the terminal. HUSKY reports 0-3 days turn time in inaccessible areas and improving. Rail car shortages to get imports off the dock is a major contributing factor to the overall congestion.  WUT’s rail backlog of rail cargo pending departures is seeing some improvement on the number of import rail cargo on dock. WUT yard utilization is at 70%. NWSA investments in T-5 are not slated to fully open until 2022 which will bring much needed additional capacity to the region.  Chassis counts remain low due to the surge in imports. 

To aid in import container availability some T18 import loads are being moved to T5; please check T18’s website for confirmation of availability and which terminal the container is located. o LFD will be extended accordingly, please be patient while information is updated

  • Appointments are not required for pick-up of “available” containers at T5
  • There are no chassis available at T5, so secure a chassis prior to arrival
  • Empty return shutouts at various terminals continue to tie up chassis and slow pace of import pickups

LAX/LGB Vessel/Terminal Delay Update:

There are currently 65 ships at anchor awaiting berths in LAX/LGB as of Friday Sept 17th.    Ships are waiting average 9-11 days to catch a berth. .  Both ports are seeing record volumes month after month.  Volumes are up 30% so far this calendar year.  Delays forcing ships to wait at anchor are expected to continue for the remainder of the year.  Imports wait for an average of 6 days for a truck to pick up, and street dwells are up to 9 days on average.  Import rail dwell is up to 12 days in the terminal complex.  All terminals remain extremely congested and evaluating a reduction on their window for export cargo acceptance from four to three days.  Customers are urged to continue to expedite the pickup of their import containers and inform any import COD requests at least four working days before the start of vessel operations.   Hapag-Lloyd and the industry in general are facing limited single empty return options and many time restricted to dual transactions.  Local trucking delays have been reduced and are being closely monitored.  The LAX/LGB rail operations from all terminals and the off dock ramps continues to deteriorate as demand exceeds capacity, therefore inland moves by rail can suffer considerable delays.

Vessel Gang Demand Metric –  Week -2021 (9/4/21 – 9/10/21)

  • 169 gangs were shorted. 1,005 allocated orders were filled
  • Total gangs ordered: 1,174 ~ Percentage of ordered gangs filled 2021 to date: 85.44%

Canadian Terminal Delays Update:

Berth availability improved due to delayed vessels, however starting next week, we are seeing increased berth conflicts at GCT.  Schedule adjustments are required to avoid anchoring.

Rail:  Yard utilization at GCT has increased to 92%.  Volumes have stabilized and there are no planned stops to rail production.  Car supply by both major railways remains consistent.

Rail dwells are presently at 3.1 Days  

The labor situation in Montreal has improved slightly and we are seeing reduced delays to ship schedules.  Rail car supply has increased and we are starting to see reduced import dwell times.  Rail dwell for the past week is 3.0 Days.

Intermodel Operations

Capacity limitation in certain markets due to import volume spikes and severe drivers’ shortage. Please find main markets, and estimate lead-time to secure capacity below (Note: Lead time refers to timeframe to secure truck power, it is not dwell time):

Please note details current average dwell times for Hapag-Lloyd boxes at several terminals / ramps.  Includes, MH, rail and truck moves:

  • New York, NY - Average  8.7 days
  • MMR rail New York – Average 4.7 days
  • Long Beach, CA – Average  9.6 days
  • Los Angeles, CA – Average 15.9 days
  • Charleston, SC – Average 13.4 days
  • Savannah, GA – Average 7.4 days
  • Norfolk, VA – Average 9.5 days
  • Kansa City, MO – Average 8.7  days
  • Chicago, IL - Average 8.8 days
  • Memphis, TN – Average 8.1 days
  • Detroit, MI – Average 13 days
  • Dallas, TX – Average 4.1 days
  • Houston, TX – Average 14 days
  • Halifax, CAN – Average 6.8 days port
  • Saint John, CAN – Average 2.4 days port
  • Montreal, CAN – Average 3.0 days port; 3.4 days ramp
  • Vancouver, CAN – Average 3.1 days port; 6.1 days ramp  

For all details please check the PDFs at the bottom of this page

Chassis Pools

With the recent unprecedented Import volumes, there is currently a historically high demand for chassis throughout the USA.  This demand has shown to be persistent on 40ft chassis and intermittent on 20ft chassis. 

In order to minimize any negative impact on supply chains, customers are asked to take immediate steps to reduce container and chassis off terminal dwell time. This includes all inland terminals as well as port terminals.  Without a significant reduction in the dwell times, truckers may face serious challenges and delays in securing good order chassis as long as this surge in imports continues.

  • USCHI – Constrained on 40’ chassis.
  • USDET – Deficit on 40’ chassis.
  • USIND – Deficit on 20’ and 40’ chassis.
  • USLUI – Deficit on 40’ chassis.
  • USMEM – Deficit on 40’ chassis.
  • USHOU – Deficit on 40’ chassis.
  • USTPA – Deficit on 40’ chassis.
  • USNYC – Deficit on 40’ chassis.
  • USSEA – Constrained on 20’ and deficit on 40’ chassis.
  • USTIW – Deficit on 40’ chassis.
  • USLAX/USLGB – Deficit on 20’ and 40’ chassis.

Long Beach Operational Updates

Please find today’s update on the status of the Southern California ports.   

This week the ports of LA/LB have 43 container vessels alongside. As we have been informing in prior releases, the vessels waiting time is one important factor that contributes to incremental delays and port congestion. As a result, the port complex is dealing with maxed-out rail yards, lack of warehouse space and serious chassis shortages besides the well-known terminal congestion issues.

The rail infrastructure has reached a critical situation due to multiple factors: Cargo imbalance, recent meteorological events, labor shortages due to COVID 19 and lack of capacity.  The rail providers on dock services at the terminals and off dock ramps operations continue to deteriorate.

The prognostic is that this will not improve anytime soon. Based on industry experts, proactive shippers are bolstering their inventories for the Holiday Seasons, creating an incompatible demand and capacity relation. Processing the influx of containers across the ports of LAX/LGB is running against capacity issues with rail and road carriers, bringing additional delays in the operation.

Vessel’s at Anchor:

As of September 9th, there are currently 43 container vessels at anchor awaiting berth at LAX/LGB.

Dwell Time:

Current average dwell times in our Los Angeles / Long Beach terminals at September 9th, 2021 is:

This week:
Off Dock rail: 36 calendar days //  382 units
On Dock rail: 09 calendar days //  518 units
Local door:    26 calendar days //  162 units
Previous week:
Off Dock rail: 39 calendar days //  301 units
On Dock rail: 15 calendar days //  478 units
Local door:    24 calendar days //  214 units

Rail Units over 50 calendar days:

This Week:        137 units // 70 days average

Previous Week: 149 units // 63 days average

Local door Units over 15 calendar days:

This Week:          60 units // 62 days average

Previous Week:   77 units // 53 days average

The local door moves performance is showing a negative trend too. Local deliveries are being delayed due to the shortage of chassis at the port, long waiting times and limited appointment availability at the terminals. The chassis shortage is extended to specialized equipment.  This impacts directly the delivery of heavy, oversized and overweight units.

On the rail moves, although there’s a positive trend in the numbers, our performance is being heavily affected by the limited on dock and off dock rail capacity as well as lack of chassis at ICTF and railcars in the network. Recent meteorological  events, impacted some destination ramps, increasing even more the dwell times to some inland ramps.

Terminal Empty Returns:

Terminals are open for standard containers empty returns as we have an extra loader this week.  Special equipment returns continue to be limited or restricted mainly to dual transactions. 

Important: The LGB Empties mailbox ([email protected]) is the daily informative for empty return location update.  

Customer Service

We strongly invite our customers to use our e-tools (Web-Booking and EASI) for submitting bookings and Shipper Instructions.

For customer inquiries, we encourage customers to use email as the primary method of contact with our Customer Service teams. We are monitoring emails and answering them as expeditiously as possible.

For urgent escalations only, you can still use phone calls. However please note that we are experiencing high call volumes and longer than normal waiting times.

For vessel/container/booking status and sailing schedules information, customer should visit our Online Business section at our Hapag-Lloyd website.

For Dangerous Good Cargo terminal gate acceptance, we strongly recommend customers to send us electronic copies of their Export Hazardous Declarations to be uploaded in their DG bookings.

For faster BL release at destination, under the current COVID-19 conditions, we encourage customers to switch from OBL to SWB, if any assistance is needed please reach out to your customer service documentation team.

For payments, we encourage customers to use our online payment option:

PayCargo - For single invoice, demurrage and detention payments - quickest release of cargo.

ACH/Wires - Suggested for USA when paying multiple invoices, please expect 24-48 hours for processing and cargo release.

Reach out to your local customer service representative here.

In answer to customers request to receive Motor Carriers contact details: The process is to allow the motor carriers to confirm the appointments directly with the loading facility. We believe we can provide better service by allowing our Intermodal team, the trucker and the loading facility to work together. It is the role of the motor carrier and the supplier to make the necessary connection to schedule loading. Any customers wishing to remain informed of the loading details should remain in direct contact with the supplier/loading-unloading facility to confirm if/when the activity has been scheduled. For exports: in general appointments are scheduled within 5-7 days of the requested loading and is further guided by the ERD of the rail/port. For imports, appointments are scheduled once all import requirements have been met (Customs clearance, OBL or SWB submitted, payment of freight and delivery order instructions received), 5 days prior to last free day. If the supplier has not heard from the trucker within 72 business hours of the cutoff, or for imports all receipt of 5days - 4 requirements rule, or if the driver has missed the scheduled appointment please contact us directly.

Click below to find more information about RNA Ports and the links to their COVID-19 updates.

Back to Top