Port of Los Angeles faces critical congestion

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Since late last year, the surging container volumes hitting US Ports coupled with container supply concerns and chassis shortages, have worried trade groups within the industry about port congestion. At the time, the greatest points of concern were at the major ports of Los Angeles & Long Beach.

Port congestion in Los Angeles is now becoming critical, with cargo volume up 50% in the second half of 2020 compared to the first half, creating a domino effect in expected volumes, averaging 88% YoY in the first 2 weeks of 2021.

Gene Seroka, Port of Los Angeles executive director, said it’s become common for loaded ships to have to wait, anchored at sea until a dock opens up for unloading.

The port is strained – We’re shipping back two times the amount of empty boxes, then we are American exports across our docks.

Seroka said the increased volume is all due to “the change in the American consumer,” explaining that during the pandemic, “we’re not buying services, we’re buying goods.”

Terminal operators have been forced to stack containers higher and wider in the container yards, which has delayed the release of import containers from the port complex for the final delivery leg to inland destinations. Furthermore, reduced storage capacity at warehouses is likely to lead to further challenges and extended container and chassis dwell times.

Trucking operations also face disruption due to port congestion, as turn times for trucks have increased by 33% from June to September.

Ultimately, due to containers sitting in the yard for a longer period of time, shoppers have faced detention and demurrage surcharges by ocean carriers and marine terminals in addition to higher surcharges and spot rates for intermodal shipments by rail carriers.

Team Express is taking the necessary steps, and working on a case-by-case basis to address the US export and logistical issues that are affecting our customers.

If you have any questions regarding the LA Port congestion and are concerned about how this affects your cargo, please call us on (03) 9596 7387.


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