Cargo has been piling up on the U.S. west coast as a surge of imports rocked the ports of LA and Long Beach struggle to keep up with the influx amid container, chassis, and warehouse scarcity continuing delays. The crunch has tightened up to stretch beyond the terminals, compounding issues with rail space and, now, water space as vessels wait for service. Almost a dozen vessels are floating in the water, awaiting berth space, further driving delays past anything we’ve seen since the Longshoreman strike in 2015. Overflow of cargo has seen ships moving to other west coast ports, spreading the cargo up to Vancouver as handlers try and rush inventory to retail spaces to meet the holiday demands.
The congestion has caused a massive increase in detention and demurrage fines as truckers sit waiting for cargo pickups, delayed by the ports themselves, leading the FMC to investigate whether the fees are driven by a desire to balance inefficiencies or the inefficiencies are driving the fees, the latter of which is exactly not how those fees are supposed to work. The FMC is concerned that the phone call is coming from inside the house.
“Anywhere you go, there are just containers everywhere,” said Weston LaBar, CEO of the Harbor Trucking Association. “It’s maddening.”
It’s been a domino effect of delays that hit one after another since the factories in China shutdown for the 2020 Lunar New Year, which is around the time analysts expect the delays to finally subside. Currently, the equipment issues are compounding the troubles that shippers have as empties are being turned immediately back to Asia without loading with U.S. exports because the boxes are urgently needed for loading more imports to return to the U.S. to alleviate the piled up cargo in Asia that’s bound for U.S. holiday shopping. The dark horse in this drama could turn out to be the impending Brexit arrangement in Europe if an agreement can’t be reached. Delays between the EU and Great Britain could send delays skyrocketing overseas as well.
During times like this, shippers need to have a strong logistics partner to lean on and Edward J. Zarach and Associates can help you mitigate the delays and issues most are facing. We’re not magicians, so we’ll need your information and planning to help you find the equipment you need. Advance notice of equipment, coupled with the flexibility to route cargo through slower ports and accurate documentation are the tools Zarach needs to work with our partner carriers to ensure your freight is able to avoid the worst pain points currently struggling to keep up. We also strongly recommend our clients talk to us about the cargo insurance they need for their containers as 1,900 containers were recently lost in a collapse while in transit.
If you’re looking for relief, reach out to Zarach and let’s get you moving!