A Letter from the President of National Shipping
July 1, 2021
San Francisco, CA
To our Valued Customers:
As I reflect upon the past six months, I can recall a time when NSA’s Jones Act domestic service was a microcosm among and the larger international container trades; both of which were adversely affected by the pandemic and its aftermath. Both experienced unexpected shipment volume spikes and drop-offs, a labor and capacity shortage, and a 26% price increase of oil since January.
Early this year, two new complementary service links were introduced to our existing schedule. The first connecting Houston with Port Everglades as part of the M-10 segment of MARAD’s existing Marine Highway Program, while the second offering a speedy transit time from Port Everglades to San Juan.
As part of the new M-10/M-95/M-2 service, NSA was recently granted authority by the U.S. Department of Transportation to engage in interstate operations. Under this new service, NSA will provide port-to-port service and partner with highway carriers to offer its customers a complete door-to-door service at a market competitive price. All individual rate quotes in this new domestic service are inclusive of freight and fuel charges.
While the country slowly recovers from the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, we expect to see continued gains in domestic transportation volumes for all modes throughout 2021. Dependent upon the availability of qualified drivers, there may well be spot truck capacity shortages and the resultant demand-driven cost increases. There is no indication that diesel fuel prices will begin to flatten or decline as demand continues to grow; as a result, NSA will be implementing a 10% bunker charge increase on July 21st and an IMO increase of $4.00 per container on the same date.
The uncertainty surrounding the extent of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is of concern to NSA, given that the first named tropical storm occurred on May 22nd and marked the seventh consecutive year that a storm formed before the official season start of June 1st. NSA will take every precaution we can to protect the integrity of our fortnightly service schedule; however, the safety of the National Glory’s crew and our port terminal operations availability cannot be overlooked.
Based on lessons learned from Hurricane Maria, FEMA has initiated a forward leaning ‘pre-position’ exercise based on the anticipated path of the hurricanes. Pre-positioning basic needs such as bottled water, readymade meals, and blankets are on the top of the list of commodities required in a first response.
I am pleased to report that the National Glory and our staff shoreside are making every effort to maintain schedule integrity and help our customers find transportation solutions during these challenging times.
From all of us at National Shipping, may we wish you a Happy 4th of July and a safe and enjoyable summer.
President of National Shipping of America