According to APL, the most important problems that have emerged form the congestion are:
1. Port delays
The congestion and added vessel calls created labor shortage at the West Coast terminals. Ships 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, increases vessel queue at berth and leads to 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 cannot 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 problems
Despite expanding the chassis pool of pools (PoP), chassis supply is still constrained. This is because of a combination of the increase in import volume and the lack of truck power, making importers to hold on to containers and chassis longer than usual.
4. Import container dwell times
Average street dwell time has risen by 3 days to 7 days.
5. Terminal congestion
Terminals are trying to deal with high import volumes and evacuating containers due to chassis issues, but congestion worsens. Terminal space is now maxed out and the lack of space is impacting normal appointment flow. Some terminals do not accept empties from carriers as they try to uncover buried containers that have not been collected for too long.
Railcar supply also faces challenges, which leads terminals to change many destinations from on-dock to off-dock. This means that containers have to be trucked out of the port, putting more pressure on trucker and chassis supply.
To deal with the severe congestion and enable better cargo flow at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, APL called customers to:
- Pick up containers as soon as possible, after they have been discharged;
- Timely return of the chassis, to avoid chassis shortage for yourselves and others.
Finally, all applicable import detention and demurrage charges continue to apply.