Regional Updates in North America

Updates on the impact of COVID-19 in North America

+++ last updated on 10 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:

Berth utilization and congestion is expected to extend through the end of September with current vessel delays now running upwards of 7 days versus proforma schedules.  During week 36 there were 11 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.  Several services have changed rotation to call other ports first instead of sitting at anchorage for a week in New York until they have a berth.   Yard utilization is being reported at between 80% - 99% at various terminals, respectively, as import dwells continue to increased, and now stand at an average of 8 days.  High yard utilization is affecting productivity on both the vessel and land side.  Gate turn times have slipped a little due to shortened work week. Most terminals are offering Saturday gates to facilitate increased import deliveries.


Philadelphia Terminal Update:

Berth utilization and congestion is very high and is expected to extend through the end of September with current vessel delays now running between 3 and  5 days versus proforma schedules.  For some services berth congestion in the previous port of call, New York, is impacting arrivals in Philadelphia and causing vessel bunching.  As a necessary part of the operation to get yard utilization under control Greenwich Terminal advised they would cease vessel operations for a period of three days, effective Wednesday. September 8 through and inclusive of, Friday, September 10, 2021.  Yard utilization is being reported near 100%.  High yard utilization is affecting productivity on both the vessel and land side.  In order to assist in the delivery of long dwelling import containers the terminal committed all available resources and efforts against the over the road truck container gate operations.  These efforts consisted of both day and night gate operations, with all available equipment and labor being utilized for this purpose.  Large empty inventories continue to impact operations, with the possibility of any additional excess volumes being sourced to outside facilities until the situation has stabilized.

Savannah Terminal Update:

Currently 29 ships at anchor as of September 10th. Ships are delayed up to 8-9 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.  Ships discharging more cargo than loading are not getting the number of cranes needed for production. Berth 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. Construction of Berth 1 has 23 more months to go before completion. Gate running fluid - turn times 43 single / 61 multiple since Monday - 40,694 moves. Rail running fluid with moves 4,623 since Monday @ 35 hours dwell time. Yard congestion slightly improved with 71,495 import loads on terminal. Yard manager advises that terminal yard utilization is at 85%.

Houston Terminal Update:

There is currently 1 ship at anchor in Houston as of Sept 10th.   Barbours Cut terminal is down to about 65% utilization.  Moving import loads into the rail yard, increased delivery of import loads and a shorter dwell time is helping make a difference.  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.  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 have risen significantly.  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 10th.  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 remains at over 150% utilized.  Truckers and shippers are encouraged to pick up freight and to use the night gates to help the situation.  While July container volumes took a small dip of 3.5% year-over-year, volumes through October are expected to rise to due peak season cargo. 

Seattle/Tacoma Terminal Update:

All Seattle/Tacoma terminals are operating at full capacity. There are currently 13 ships at anchor awaiting berth as of Sept 10th.  Berthing delays in Seattle are up to 16 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.  Rail car shortages to get imports off the dock is a major contributing factor to the overall congestion.  WUT currently has a significant backlog of rail cargo pending departures.  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.  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 50 ships at anchor awaiting berths in LAX/LGB as of Friday Sept 10th.     Ships are waiting average 8-9 days to catch a berth.  Both ports are seeing record volumes month after month.  Delays forcing the ships to wait at anchor are expected to continue for the remainder of the year.  All terminals remain extremely congested and evaluating a reduction on their window for export cargo acceptance from four to three days.  The expected spike on imports generated by the peak season and cargo pre-shipped is already here making the operation more complex.  Changes of destination (COD's) and container "dig outs" are very restricted due to lack terminal space.  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.

Canadian Terminal Delays Update:


Berth fluidity in Vancouver has improved however terminal productivity continues to struggle.  Ships continue to arrive off schedule.

Rail:  Yard utilization at GCT has come down to 82% and various rail shifts are scheduled to be idled throughout the week due to gaps in the vessel schedule.

Rail dwells are presently at 4.0 Days

The shortage of labor in Montreal is an ongoing issue, resulting in significant delays to ship schedules.  This is expect to continue through September.  Rail car supply remains stable however as a result of the labor situation, we are starting  to see increases in average dwell times.  Average dwell time has increased slightly to 5.3 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 3.9 days
  • Long Beach, CA – Average  11.4 days
  • Los Angeles, CA – Average 16.7 days
  • Charleston, SC – Average 8.7 days
  • Savannah, GA – Average 8.7 days
  • Norfolk, VA – Average 8.8 days
  • Kansa City, MO – Average 7.9  days
  • Chicago, IL - Average 8.8 days
  • Memphis, TN – Average 7.1 days
  • Detroit, MI –  Average 14.5 days
  • Dallas, TX – Average 4.1 days
  • Houston, TX – Average 14 days
  • Halifax, CAN – Average 3.9 days port
  • Saint John, CAN – Average 6.0 days port
  • Montreal, CAN – Average 5.3 days port; 2.7 days ramp
  • Vancouver, CAN – Average 4.0 days port; 3.3 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 – Deficit on 40’ chassis.
  • USDET – Deficit on 20’ and 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.
  • USBAL – Deficit on 40 chassis.
  • USNYC – Deficit on 40’ chassis.
  • USMKC – Constrained on 40’ chassis.
  • USSTL – Constrained 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.  

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.

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