'We are truly struggling with the air product, in JFK especially,' said one US freight forwarder. 'There is huge congestion at JFK, while the airlines are not able to push the handlers.
'There are weeks and weeks of backlog and cargo on the tarmac in JFK terminals.'
He added: 'We continue to hear about the ocean crisis, but we are not seeing detailed messages about the air crisis at the larger airports. I have worked for a major freight forwarder for 28 years and have never seen it as bad as at JFK.
'The rerouting of cargo is a challenge, for we have to add the additional cost of onwarding to the customer, as well as explain why this needs to happen.'
Forwarder records have revealed severe delays at JFK across several handlers, particularly in buildings shared by airlines.
China Airlines and China Cargo Airlines, handled by WFS, have delays of nine to 10 days for cargo recovery, while some 200 to 300 units have been left on the tarmac, according to one forwarder, who cited labour shortages as the main factor behind the congestion.
Emirates, Etihad and Kalitta Air, also handled by WFS, reportedly have delays of three to four days; boutique handler MSN has delays of one to two weeks, while Lufthansa Cargo's handing operation is also said to be struggling at the airport.
Chicago has had a rough year, congestion-wise, but sources said it had managed to resolve its difficulties.