Congestion Loops Ports in Delays

A surge of imports at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach causes congestion and delays as record import volumes have the ports trying to operate at 105% capacity to keep up. Usually running at 80-85%, the port relies on buffer seasons between busy times to play catch up, but that relief has been absent since the summer.

Medical shipments, restocking, blanked sailings, and the coming holiday cargo have created a perfect storm of issues for import cargo bottlenecked as it tries to travel into the nation. This triple or quadruple peak season is that much more work with the same space, same crew, and same acreage yet reduced storage capacity as warehouses are still full from blanked sailing rolls early on in 2020. The delays cause a struggle down the entire supply chain as truck turn-times are up more than 21%, and containers are sitting upwards of 3.25 days, which is more than half a day longer than in July.

The high export demand in Asia causes cargo rollovers as transshipments aren’t finding space on incoming vessels as the surge of holiday exports soak up any extra space. With that much laid over cargo, any additional vessel spots are quickly taken, complicating the awaiting cargo at further ports. The higher the demand for more freight from Asian ports, the larger the overflow of containers waiting will grow.

The best way to deal with this level of import congestion is to keep reliable communications with your forwarder. We at Edward J. Zarach & Associates have built strong relationships with carriers over the years so we can weather these tumultuous situations with minimal disruption. Giving us advance notice of your equipment needs, loading availability, and being flexible with your routings are the best ways we can avoid delays and costly diversions for your cargo.