To Our Valued Customers:


We know the situation impacting all of us is evolving hourly it seems, we wanted to continue to advise you all of what we are seeing and experiencing in the market.  At Laufer, we are committed to providing you with as much information as possible as quickly as possible.  

So here is a short list of what we are seeing so far today:


The Port of Houston: The Port of Houston’s Barbours Cut and Bayport Container Terminals are closed until further notice.  According to officials, there has been a reported case of COVID-19 in an employee. Therefore, all vessel, yard, and gate operations have been halted until further notice.  There have not been any decisions on detention, demurrage or vessel schedules as this is changing rapidly.


Force Majeure and Transportation Services:  Force majeure is a contract provision that relieves parties from performing their contractual obligations when conditions arise that are beyond their control, making the performance of those obligations impossible, illegal, or commercially impracticable.Should other ports or terminals around the country need to close for similar reasons to the Port of Houston, we would imagine that ocean carriers will declare force majeureas their ability to deliver to or through said terminals will be restricted or prevented.  We have seen this before with the Hanjin bankruptcy when carriers were forced to discharge containers at other ports than the ports intended.  


Laufer Teams:  Our teams are following the guidelines set by federal, state and local officials depending on those conditions.  We are deemed an essential business because our role in shipping and supply chain services. So, like many of you, we are balancing work from home and staggered office hours.  It’s not easy, as all of you are experiencing, but we will get through this as a team – it’s “all hands-on deck” here at Laufer.


Congestion at Terminals and Ports:  We expect congestion to worsen at major ports in the US in early April as the volumes from China and Asia begin to arrive following the Chinese New Year holiday and the factory and office closures in China due to COVID-19.This, accompanied with possible restrictions on drivers, warehouse receiving hours, and possible terminal issues will result in increases of demurrage, detention, waiting time, and chassis usage fees.


Guaranteeing Demurrage? We are receiving notices from some terminals here in New York that “guarantees” of demurrage payments or “credit” for demurrage payments to the terminals will be suspended and that all demurrage payments will require credit card processing.


We truly appreciate all your support as we navigate this event together.  Should you need any additional information or guidance, please feel free to contact your Laufer sales or team member.