Congestion Risks and Delays at North American Ports

Industry leaders are warning that pressures on the North American container shipping system are rising, risking even greater congestion in the beginning of 2021. In November, East Coast ports were challenged with handling a 30 percent year-over-year increase in imports from Asia, but have so far been able to avoid the gridlock that is gripping the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

We are now seeing bottlenecks beginning to form outside Southeast ports, which until now have maintained fluidity. Sign of delays are noticeable with cargo stacking up at nearby warehouses, truck capacity tightening, and chassis dwells lengthening, Uffe Ostergaard, Hapag-Lloyd’s president, Americas, told in a Tuesday interview. “Average turn times and berth productivity at major US ports are under pressure, reflecting increased strain on the container shipping system,” said Ostergaard.

“It’s a different narrative here,” Sam Ruda, director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, told Tuesday, although there is tightness throughout the New York-New Jersey supply chain, including mounting container dwell times at marine terminals and chassis dwell times at warehouses.

“The gateway remains pretty fluid,” Ruda said. However, three non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOs) said early warning signs surfacing at major East Coast gateways are similar to what they saw in Southern California this summer. The Federal Maritime Commission last month launched a fact-finding mission.

Indeed, New York-New Jersey is experiencing higher equipment dwell times during the import surge, said Bethann Rooney, deputy director of the port department. Average container dwell times at the six container terminals in New York-New Jersey are five to seven days compared with three to four days normally, while average chassis dwell times at warehouses are up to 15 days from three to four days earlier this year, she said.

East Coast ports hope to avoid the congestion that Los Angeles-Long Beach has experienced from an unprecedented spike in imports since late June. Vessel bunching, delays of several days in vessel berthing, congested marine terminals, long truck lines at terminal gates, chassis shortages owing to excessive street dwell times, and import warehouses filled beyond capacity have plagued the Southern California gateway since summer.

The situation remains very fluid. We are advising clients to do the following:

  • At a minimum add two weeks to your typical transit times.
  • Plan for congestion fees from the truckers as they spend hours in the port retrieving containers.
  • Know whether your imports are affected and decide what you’re going to do about it.

If you have a question about whether your products are affected by these delays, WB Skinner may be able to help. We can tell you what impact the delays might have on your shipments, and might be able to suggest a few options to help you to avoid delays.

GSP Expires on December 31, 2017 – What You Should Know

Once again, the Generalized System of Preferences Act (GSP) will be expiring on December 31. With no Congressional authority for renewal in sight before then, importers should be prepared to act as usual during the lapse.

The GSP Act, which provides duty-free treatment to importers of goods from designated beneficiary countries, periodically expires and must be renewed by Congress. All previous GSP renewals that have taken effect after a lapse have had a retroactive clause that provided refunds to importers of eligible goods imported during the lapse period.

What Should You Do?

Until the Act is renewed, WB Skinner encourages you to continue to flag GSP-eligible importations with the SPI “A” designation even as you pay normal trade relations (column 1) duty rates on otherwise GSP-eligible importations.   Refunds will be done directly by CBP, which this year is working towards automating the refunds to enable quicker payment.

If you are a current client of WB Skinner, you will receive your refunds automatically. Contact us for more information.

If you are not a current WB Skinner client, contact us to find out how to receive your refunds.

If you have any questions about your shipments, from how to ensure their safe and effective delivery to ensuring the most cost-efficient procedures, you can count on us to help. And we guarantee you will be greeted by one of our experienced partners, not shuttled off to a junior associate or a voice mail.

Check back at for updates or contact us for more information.


As the new CMA CMG Explorer Class container ship THEODORE ROOSEVELT recently sailed under the Bayonne Bridge, which links the States of New York and New Jersey, guests of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey witnessed the inaugural passage of a larger class of container ships to call at the region’s busiest terminals.

Owned by French shipping group CMA CGM, the THEODORE ROOSEVELT is the largest capacity ship to ever visit the Port of New York and New Jersey. It can carry more than 14,400 TEUs, or 20-foot equivalent units. The ship is four times the size of the Statue of Liberty and the length of five football fields. The newly elevated Bayonne Bridge will accommodate ships as large as 18,000 TEUs with its added navigation clearance.

Bill Skinner, President of WB Skinner, and attending the event as President of the New York/New Jersey Foreign Freight Forwarders & Brokers Association, hailed the occasion as a new era for the region’s importers and shippers. “Completion of this milestone project will help secure our competitive position as the premiere East Coast gateway for global shippers and international trade.”

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spent $1.6 billion — part of the “Raise the Roadway” project — to raise the bridge’s roadway to 215 feet to allow larger vessels into the port. The investment will improve access and infrastructure in the nation’s third busiest port complex.

For more information, please contact


Amid the continuing devastation and recovery efforts in the Houston area, the region’s transportation impacts are also being felt across the country.

Ports in Corpus Christi, Freeport, Galveston and much of Houston are closed, pending further assessment of weather conditions. It’s estimated that nearly 10% of trucking across the U.S. will be affected by the storm during this first week.

The region has experienced days of heavy rains, strong winds and catastrophic flooding since Harvey made landfall Friday night. According to Fox Business News, seaports have been closed to most ships since Friday, and rising waters threaten stretches of highways and railroad tracks, bringing freight transportation to a virtual standstill.

It is uncertain when freight companies will resume operations. Even after the weather clears, it could be days before floodwaters recede enough to allow dockworkers back into ports, or trucks to resume normal routes.

Numerous ships scheduled to stop in Houston, including oil tankers, cruise ships and container carriers, are anchored well outside the storm’s path in the Gulf of Mexico. Port Houston appears to have avoided major damage, but some carriers said they could be waiting offshore even after the weather clears because flooded roads will keep dockworkers from reaching the port, or trucks from carrying cargo out.

The storm’s impact is expected to quickly affect the rest of the country.

If you have any questions regarding your shipments during this crisis, please contact Bill Skinner at 201-644-7214.


New standards for toys and related products such as toy chests were published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), effective April 30, 2017. If you are a new importer of toys you should be aware of these regulations and what they mean for your business.


The new rules, known as ASTM F963-16, were developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials and contain substantial changes from earlier versions.


All importers as well as U.S. manufacturers of children’s products are required to issue a “Children’s Product Certificate” based on passing test results from a CPSC-approved third party laboratory. They also have a legal responsibility to report if a product is defective or presents potential hazards. For more information on the requirements CLICK HERE.


There does appear to be some discretion allowed within the enforcement of the standards. In the earliest example since the announcement of the new standards, the CPSC agreed to issue exemption in March for certain projectile toys with low energies at the request of the Toy Industry Association.


Importers are urged to become familiar with the new standards and of course, to seek more information if they are unclear about the implications. W.B. Skinner is pleased to offer assistance with these or other regulations that you may have questions on.

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!