Due to unprecedented pre-Lunar New Year inbound volumes, Los Angeles and Long Beach ports are experiencing extreme congestion. The volume increase is creating a vicious cycle encompassing:
1. Port delays
The congestion and added vessel calls are creating labor shortage at the West Coast terminals. Vessels generally have to wait two to three shifts after arrival before labor is available for operations, with work gang allocation by Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) implemented based on ship size. This delays cargo availability, extends vessel queue at berth and results in bunching of vessels that are held back at the harbor.
2. Truck power crunch
With the volume increase and traffic congestion around the port area, truck power is not able to keep up with demand. This poses a challenge in getting truckers to take containers out of the terminals, or to timely return containers and chassis.
3. Chassis issues
Despite expanding the chassis pool of pools (PoP), chassis supply remains constrained. This is due to a combination of the spike in import volume and the lack of truck power, leading importers to hold on to containers and chassis longer than usual.
4. Import container dwell times
Average street dwell time has increased by 3 days to 7 days.
5. Terminal congestion
As terminals try their best to cope with increased import volumes and evacuating containers due to chassis issues, congestion worsens as they begin to face a gridlock. Terminal space is now maxed out and the lack of space is affecting normal appointment flow. Some terminals are refusing to accept empties from carriers as they try to uncover buried containers that have not been collected for too long.
Railcar supply is also challenged, which forces terminals to change many destinations from on-dock to off-dock. This means that containers need to be trucked out of the port, putting more pressure on trucker and chassis supply.
To alleviate the severe congestion and enable better cargo flow at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, we urge customers to provide your support by:
Picking up your containers as soon as possible, after they have been discharged
Timely return of the chassis, to avoid chassis shortage for yourselves and others