Category Archives: Shipping

Ocean lines should compensate shippers, truckers forced to store containers because of port congestion

The FMC chairman has made his position known.

One of the big hassles in container shipping right now is the unfair treatment of drayage drivers. They are often forced to wait because of inadequate capacity at ports. And this is directly traceable to the advent of large ships, which take longer to unload and which result in large numbers of empty containers cluttering up ports. When there are too many containers, the port operations are delayed and cannot be efficient, so often the terminals close their doors to returning containers. They are usually empty.

So the drivers are stuck with them. Or the warehouses and distribution centers wait to return them till they can get in. The time windows for return are not coordinated across the supply chain players, so it’s kind of random whether they can get them in. https://splash247.com/truck-drivers-at-port-of-baltimore-protest-long-waits-at-container-terminal/

Then we compound it with the fact that it’s not that useful for the ocean carrier to pick them up for return to an exporting location. It’s almost easier to build a new one in China, say for the next load. Also, an empty container takes up a slot on the ship that could be used for paying cargo. Remember that ocean routes are closed loops with pickups and deliveries along the way. Each stop presents a new version of a loading problem to be solved.

Yet many containers are owned by the ocean shipping lines. So they are responsible for them. https://splash247.com/us-east-coast-empty-container-congestion-due-to-lack-of-accountability-fmc-commissioner/

The FMC will look at whether the ocean carriers need to reimburse other supply chain participants for any delays suffered when they can’t return the containers on time. And the carriers have to be more diligent about picking up empties. That’s something the FMC should be able to influence. The carriers will squeal. But they have to start cleaning up their leftovers.

It’s a good article to keep in mind.

Kim Biggar August 8, 2022

FMC chairman says lines should compensate shippers, truckers forced to store containers because of port congestion – Splash247

August 10, 2022

By Margherita Bruno

Empty container congestion creates ‘double whammy’

As DCSA and shippers work to develop eBL standards, forwarders remain wary

This article gives both sides of a discussion on the importance and readiness of the maritime and shipping industries for an electronic bill of lading.

One point made in the article by forwarders is that in the present market, changes are occurring so frequently that the bills of lading have to change frequently. The changes are happening because the congestion and resilience or lack of it currently in many supply chains is forcing frequent revisions of transport plans. That forces eBL revision, since the exactness of the details of transport is essential in building a valid eBL.

But it’s always been the case that digitalization or automation requires a change in the manual or human procedures surrounding the creation of information. Those who are naysayers need to face up to the fact that a ‘draft’ eBL needs to become the standard of creation of an order for transport. That’s true if you’re a carrier, a shipper, a forwarder, ora 3PL.

It means that every system for booking shipments needs to transition to use of the eBL as THE document defining the offer. No participant will be able to afford to have their own forms for creating or ordering a shipment. That is going to be a challenge for the myriad systems brokers and shippers use. Each of them must be forced to include the eBL structure in their system, and make it the ONLY way orders are drafted and contracted for.

That’s not quite as bad as it seems. Once the system has the ability to draft the eBL for a shipment, many of them can be prepared in advance. For instance for a customer that regularly books shipments of specific goods, the eBL can be prepared in advance as a draft, and only needs human and system interaction for approval. We know from many years of practice implementing systems that draft information can be tuned by the computer to match most of the required patterns for most shipments, so

Brokers who are concerned about constant churning of eBL information can take heart; using pre-prepared standard eBLs will eliminate 80% of the job or so; the exceptions are a lot fewer than they think.

What that also means, however, is the job of booking an order changes. The customer service agent has a lot less paperwork to do, and that may in her view reduce her ‘importance’ to the shipper and the process. They lose status and the opportunity they had in the past to influence and relate to the shipper. That might be their fear.

However, they should not fear. It’s well understood from previous system implementations in many areas from payrolls to HR to ERP and many more areas, for at least 4 decades. The job changes, and opens up many more opportunities for sales reps to be of actual use to their clients by removing the burden of paperwork. And the change is from a repetitive operation to an exception handling process.

Shipping sales rep may well become a job that requires a different type of person from the incumbents; but that should not be a reason to avoid doing it. It means retraining incumbents or encouraging them to move on to a job they are more comfortable in.

The eBL standard development and acceptance process will be key over the next few years. The faster it can happen, the better.

By Charlie Bartlett 04/08/2022

As DCSA and shippers work to develop eBL standards, forwarders remain wary – The Loadstar

New container imbalance fee to minimise congestion due to excess empty containers

Port Authority of NY and NJ have announced a new container fee payable by ocean carriers. The fee will be levied when the outbound containers don’t exceed inbound containers by 110% in the same period. The port authority also plans to find additional space to store containers near the port, and already has identified 12 acres on the port.

It seems that these two measures are what works to reduce congestion. The same two kinds of measures were invoked at the Port of LA and Port of Long Beach to get ocean lines to start moving empties out. In California, though, the container fees were just threatened; they never were begun. that alone was enough for ocean carriers to start moving containers out.

Perhaps we have found a credible set of options to get container carriers to move those boxes.

Kim BiggarAugust 3, 2022

Port Authority of NY and NJ announces new container imbalance fee to minimise congestion due to excess empty containers – Splash247