This article shows that it isn’t so easy to divert containers from LA/LongBeach to other ports. The smaller ports don’t have the infrastructure to handle the added containers efficiently. They may not even be able to get drivers to move the incoming containers. And how will they handle empties? Ship them to LA/Long Beach? It’s a complete mess for shippers and forwarders.
The article details some of the techniques people are trying. Each has its own set of problems to wrestle with.
Everyone has something to report about the great supply chain disaster. In this case, empty containers moving from the Southeast ports to LA/Long Beach are going to cause problems there. You can read to find out about the problems. There’s no space for them.
Even with new rules to allow stacks of containers to be 6 high instead of 2 high, the problems won’t go away. Just making the rule does not get the terminal operators to do it. And as the article points out, higher stacks mean it’s harder to find and get to a specific container for a given truck or ship. That adds time to the transfers, and creates another source of delay.
Perhaps finally people will grasp that in the age of global shipping there must be a plan, at least countrywide, to integrate all the components of the system– full containers, berths, empty containers, yards, stacking space, ports, terminals, warehouses, drayage trucking, chassis, appointments.
More than that, the plan has to be followed!!
There’s little that state governors can do, even though Gavin Newsom in California is trying to find ways to help out by relieving some of the storage space problems. When the commerce is interstate, and indeed international, it’s bigger than just one bottleneck point.
Ryan Petersen, CEO of Flexport, hired a boat to visit the Port of LA/Long Beach to see the traffic jam of ships and observe what the terminals are doing. He came away with numerous suggestions, some of which have appeared in the directive published yesterday by Governor Gavin Newsom.
Ryan is a keen observer of the shipping scene, in addition to being CEO of a fast-growing forwarder.
The problems he detects seem to be yard space for containers, and a shortage of chassis and places to put empty containers to get them off chassis.
The new policy will allow stacking up to six high instead of only two high. That will help out both port yards and inland yards, such as for rail. More land available for stacking will also help, if properties close to rail yards can be identified and assigned for stacking.
Apparently, because empty containers cannot be dropped off, chassis are standing around with empty containers on them, preventing their use for a full container newly unloaded from a ship. A shortage of chassis ready to take a loaded container thus occurs.
How come it is always chassis and empties that cause the problems in the container supply chain?