LA & LB: Anchored 61 | Terminal 33
Oakland: Anchored (nil) | Terminal 5 | Drifting 1
NWSA: Anchored 10 | Terminal 6 | Drifting 7
Vessel Congestion Update
The San Pedro Bay Complex: The Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach at the terminals, anchorages, and the Pacific Ocean coastal drift locations continue to remain at full capacity with another record high count. The container vessels waiting to enter the ports have created a logjam. As the backlog continues, last month, it prompted the Biden Administration to appoint a ports envoy to address how to improve cargo movement following numerous complaints from U.S. businesses facing inventory shortages, shipping delays, and rising costs. Both ports are working closely with the White House Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to alleviate bottlenecks and speed up the movement of goods. The volume of waiting container vessels, full of goods mostly from East Asia and beyond, continues to be visible off the Long Beach shoreline as well as other coastal beaches.
Each day new ships queue, breaking record high numbers
On September 17, 2021, the Marine Exchange of Southern California advised there are 147 ships and 95 are container ships at anchor or drift areas, waiting for berth space to open up at the ports of LA and LB. The top two U.S. Ports reported 95 vessels are in the queue and it is estimated that ships in the back of the queue could wait up to three weeks for a berth to become available.
Executive Directors of the ports of Long Beach (LB) and Los Angeles (LA) have announced the ports will expand hours to allow truck drivers to pick up and return containers. The measure is meant to enhance the ports’ landside operations to aid in meeting the unprecedented cargo volume as it is hoped it will increase the current cargo throughput. The expanded hours will allow truckers to both pick up and return containers. The extended gate hours should alleviate the current congestion of the on-dock terminal congestion. The finger-pointing for this week is triggered by the unprecedented growth of cargo volume.
A plan formulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, known as Accelerate Cargo, with input from supply chain stakeholders and both LA-LB ports, have decided to expand terminal gate hours for truckers, to include extended nighttime and weekend hours for longshore crews. The changes are expected to move vessels and cargo out more quickly. As ships continue to wait outside of the port complex, the cargo surge has left dozens of ships waiting outside the harbor and continues to threaten a retail shortage ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Port of Long Beach – First Step to 24/7
Mario Cordero, Executive Director of LB, in part announced: “Long Beach will take the first step towards being a 24/7 supply chain by maximizing nighttime operations.” The Port of Long Beach is expected to increase or maximize nighttime operations. Cordero further stated in part: “The measures are the first step toward reaching a 24/7 supply chain, which would ideally have to extend to warehouses and rail companies as well to fully address what is a chain-wide, coast-to-coast logjam.”
Port of Los Angeles – Pilot Expansion of Weekend Operating Hours
Gene Seroka, Executive Director Port of Los Angeles announced the expansion of weekend operating gate hours will be on a pilot basis to ensure that gate availability meets cargo demands.
Both LA – LB Port Officials
The joint ports have called on the marine terminal operators to incentivize the use of all available gate hours, especially night gates, to reduce congestion and maximize cargo throughput capacity.
The ports’ plan to work closely with the trucking community to ensure that truck operators understand how to take advantage of incentivized gate hours as well as the expanded opportunities that can move cargo during non-peak-times.
On September 21, 2021, the Port of LB issued a news release advising in part: “Pier T Terminal begins pilot 24-hour cargo pickup program.” By increasing open gate times, it adds the flexibility of overnight hours to better reduce the time containers spend at the terminal. The pilot program started at LB’s largest terminal and its success rests with truck drivers using the increased gate hours. The terminal is taking two significant steps to increase cargo pickup in the late-night, early morning hours when there is less traffic on the area freeways and surface streets. The focus is to reduce “dwell” time, which is the amount of time cargo spends waiting for pickup from the dock. It is anticipated that truckers will find they will never be too early or too late for their appointments from 11 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at TTI Terminal. Truckers with appointments during this time period will have access whenever they arrive during this period, which will widen the window typically available. Bill Peratt, CEO of TTI in part stated: “By making it more convenient for truckers, we are optimistic that these steps can reduce the dwell time at our terminal.”
Stake Holder – Harbor Trucking Association
Matt Schap, CEO of the Harbor Trucking Association, indicated questions remain on exactly how/when the full port-wide implementation could roll out. At the time of the port executive rollout, Schap said: “This is more of a statement of what they’re planning to do.” Schap, further stated: “There are concerns about what the corrective measures are as we don’t know what an incentivized reservation system looks like, adding the association has been and will continue to be engaged in the ongoing talks.”
Holiday Shopping Woes
Ed Desmond, Executive Vice President of the Toy Association, stated: “The ensuing cargo backlog has caused supply worries ahead of the holiday season.” Earlier this week, Desmond urged to start shopping for presents early and said: “If you see toys you think the kids are going to want for Christmas, pick them up now and tuck them away to make sure you have them, we just don’t know what’s going to happen when we get down the road closer to Christmas.”
Soren Toft, CEO of Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), second world’s largest container line, discussed in part the massive growth in the US demand and stated in part: “A 33% increase in imports from Asia into the US in the first seven months of the year has occurred and MSC has been moving 12 months’ worth of goods within an eight-month timeframe”, concluding that the “Supply chains are not built for such massive changes.”
Data from “ Freightos”
Freightos in part indicates the average time it takes for ocean freight to go door-to-door has increased by 43% over last year from 50-days to an average of 71.5 days (about 2 and a half months).
Please contact your Western Overseas representative with any questions.