How the USA Trucker Shortage Is Impacting Sea Freight USA to Australia
The current USA trucker shortage was forecast many years ago, but not enough has been done to stop it and now the market is feeling the impact.
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With the USA being Australia’s second biggest trading partner for imports, the latest issues with the trucker shortage and the accompanied ongoing congestions have a major impact on imports to Australia.
With a number of events in the USA impacting sea freight from USA to Australia, we felt it important to provide a status update for our readers.
Read on to learn more about the USA trucker shortage and congestions at the West Coast and what you can do to avoid disappointment.
Latest update on the United States to Australia trade lane Trucker shortage in the USA
The current USA trucker shortage was forecast many years ago, but not enough has been done to stop it and now the market is feeling the impact. Old drivers are retiring in great numbers at the same time as the recovery of the USA economy after the past years of recession. “Freight volumes are growing nicely on a year-over-year basis for most trucking sectors as economic growth remains solid,” stated Bob Costello, Chief Economist at the American Trucking Association. “However, the industry is having a difficult time adding trucks due to the trucker shortage,” continues Costello.
We highly recommend that importers plan ahead and make sea freight USA to Australia bookings at least 2 weeks in advance. Only by being aware of these issues and planning ahead, your freight forwarder can work to accommodate your needs and get your sea freight from USA to Australia on time.
West Coast contract negotiations
Looking specifically at the West Coast of the USA, negotiations between the ILWU and the PMA have continued with little fanfare and no work stoppages. So far both sides have committed to complete the negotiations and implement a new contract without a labour interruption.
West Coast congestion continues
Even with negotiations continuing, delays and port congestion on the USA West Coast continue. This is being caused by several factors:
- USA importers have brought cargo in the early to avoid any potential labour unrest
- The import market is stronger than in previous years whilst recession, with forecast growth >6%
- Rail carriers have diverted capacity away from intermodal (containerised cargo) to handle agriculture and bulk oil shipments
- Forecast trucker shortage has come to fruition
Background information on USA – Australian trade
What impact do imports from the USA have on the Australian economy? The USA is Australia’s second biggest trading partner with 13% (July 2014) of total imports. In 2013, imports of goods from the USA reached A$26 billion, and the top four imported products were passenger motor vehicles, civil engineering equipment & parts, measuring & analysing instruments & medicaments.
Sea freight USA to Australia – How to be prepared
With the above issues in the USA, BCR is recommending to its customer to keep planning ahead and be flexible. It can take several days to secure a truck driver in the USA and even longer to get freight to its final destination. Cargo ships are currently full so securing space for your sea freight is another key challenge.
To avoid disappointment, speak with your suppliers and your freight forwarding or logistics partner several weeks in advance. Be flexible and build some additional time in your schedule to be prepared for current service delays.