September 30, 2020
San Francisco, CA
To our Valued Customers:
I think we would all agree that 2020 has been a year we would like to forget. The virus, the hurricane activity, the fires in the west, the passing of one of our key and dedicated employees, and social strife all during an election year has impacted us all on both a business and a personal basis.
Looking in the rear-view mirror, the third quarter was particularly difficult. Topping the list was the sudden passing in August of our valued friend and customer service manager, Wanda Cordero. Wanda was with us from the initiation of the service in 2013. She was loved by all and will be missed by everyone.
On the business side, the market was negatively impacted by the government’s start/stop approach to the pandemic. Lack of tourism and the abrupt end of the cruise business, coupled with restrictions to the population movement, led to a soft third quarter for our customers.
The third quarter also witnessed a meltdown in Southern California. Combined with the traditional peak season in the Transpacific trade and the wildfires in the West, the intermodal providers, both truck and rail have adjusted their rates upward adding cost in moving freight to Puerto Rico. The silver lining is the fact that Houston is the closest port of exit to the island saving almost 1000 surface miles versus Jacksonville.
Looking forward toward the 4th quarter, we are guardedly optimistic that both the hurricane season will shortly come to an end without further service uncertainties and the disruptive fires on the west coast will continue to be contained. Both have contributed to below average shipping volumes to Puerto Rico.
On a positive note, National is excited about our new service starting on January 6th that will add Port Everglades to our fortnightly schedule. This new service adds two new trade lanes for our customers. One is the Houston to Port Everglades leg that is known as the M-10. The M-10 is sponsored by the Maritime Administration’s American Marine Highway program for the purpose reducing truck traffic on the road and providing domestic shippers with a more economical and environmentally friendly way of moving their freight. We feel that this new route that parallels the I-10 interstate highway will allow customers to increase the gross weight of their shipments. The benefit, especially during the hurricane season, is to bypass highway closures and disruptions due to inclement weather.
The second leg of the new service from Port Everglades to San Juan will provide the fastest service to the island from south Florida. We have had a positive response to this expanded service coverage, especially from our perishable customers.
I would like to stress that the addition of Port Everglades will not impact our current fortnightly schedule. We will continue to depart Houston on Wednesday evening and arrive in San Juan Wednesday, morning as we do today. No change!
As we head into the final stretch of 2020, I think a lot of us are looking forward to a new year without the types of disruptions and uncertainties that we’ve experienced in 2020. As an optimist by nature, I hope for all of us a speedy finish to 2020 and the hope for a positive 2021.
From all of us at National Shipping, we would like to thank you for your continued support of our service that is now in its 8th year and send our best wishes to you and your families for a peaceful holiday season.
President of National Shipping of America