Horizon Lines, a long-time maritime carrier between the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico, has ceased all vessel operations as of January 2015. Prior to its exit, Horizon accounted for nearly 30 percent of all container volume that was transported between the Port of Jacksonville in Florida and the Caribbean island.
How this affects shippers today
Due to the loss of Horizon’s vessels, transportation capacity within the U.S.-Puerto Rico oceanic trade lane has become drastically tightened. The capacity shortage has resulted in industry-wide delays for shippers as the remaining maritime transportation companies work quickly to accommodate market demand.
The delay means that some cargo may sit for longer periods of time at the Port of Jacksonville’s cargo terminal. Additionally, maritime transportation rates between the U.S. and Puerto Rico may also experience rate increases as vessel operators tackle increased demand.
Addressing the capacity issue
The three remaining oceanic lines — Sea Star, Crowley Maritime, and Trailer Bridge — are taking several steps, both short- and long-term, to accommodate the change in market.
Sea Star and Crowley, for example, have taken the following measures:
- Additional weekly barge services – Sea Star began a new weekly barge service on Jan. 22, and Crowley recently announced that it will add another vessel to its barge service, increasing trips between Jacksonville and San Juan to four per week.
- Sea Star buys two LNG-powered Marlin Class vessels – Vessels will have capacity of 3,100 twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) units, and the first ship is slated for delivery this October.
- New Crowley vessels slated for 2017 launch – Construction of two LNG-fueled vessels to replace older barges kicked off in late January. When completed, they will carry up to 2,400 TEUs and 400 vehicles.
Though transit times by barge are up to three days slower than traditional container vessels, the additions will help ease the capacity problem.
How Averitt can help you
Averitt is constantly monitoring the situation to enable our customers to make the best choices regarding their shipments and supply chain that require transportation between the U.S. and Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands.
With the current situation, many customers may benefit from taking advantage of the barge services offered by Sea Star, Crowley and Trailer Bridge. Additionally, Averitt can work with shippers to explore the option of expedited services to Puerto Rico for time-sensitive shipments.
Our Puerto Rico Team is on-hand to discuss your concerns and needs at 1-866-208-0167 or by email.