Commentary

West Coast Port Congestion. When will it end?

West Coast Port Congestion.

When will the chaos come to an end?

Scarbrough-LogisticsWhat do you mean by chaos?

The current situation of severe delays due to port congestion still continues to plague the U.S. Ports and average delays range anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks.  The freight diversions to other ports have led to congestion across the U.S. and have even driven up air cargo pricesFactory production across the U.S. has been impacted, and even McDonalds feels the pain when 3000 of their Japanese branches can’t get their hands on those infamous fries!  The situation is very dynamic.

I hope to create a good synopsis for you below, but let’s say it all started when labor contracts between ILWU and PMA expired summer of 2014.

What other factors have played a major role in the chaos?

Other issues that have led to the Port Congestion include:

  • Terminals cannot handle the number of containers new Megaships are bringing to Port
  • Cargo volumes are increasing
  • Chassis shortages and chassis hoarding
  • Gate hours and work time
  • Safety checks are causing a delay for truckers
  • Shortage of truckers and long wait times
  • Demurrage and Per Diem for late returns and an increase in paperwork processing
  • Suitable equipment and logistical provisions are not ready for new cargo capacity

What is being done?

Some current solutions include:

  • Chassis Gray Pool Sharing Model, which “simply allows equipment contributors to share their fleets.”
  • Added hours… Oakland opened its port with weekend hours allowing them to process more containers
  • The PMA and ILWU are working with a Federal Mediator to come to an agreement. This will help achieve many issues at hand that lead to the congestion.
  • Some ports and terminals are extending Free Time
  • And….Hopefully there are talks and solutions of Terminal Productivity Improvement in regards to Megaship handling and increased cargo volumes

One interesting thought I came across in an article on TheGuardian.com

“Just imagine what would happen if longshoremen suddenly refused to unload Walmart goods. That’s the $50bn question.”


*** I want to hear from you!Scarbrough-Six-Lines

What is your opinion about the West Coast Port Congestion Situation and how has it effected your shipping patterns? 

We would love to compile your thoughts and opinions anonymously and publish them in our next newsletter.

A big thank you to sources  Journal of Commerce and American Shipper who have followed the situation closely.  Scarbrough continues to monitor it closely, as well and continuously works on pushing our clients’ freight through as quickly as possible.


 Scarbrough-TransportationNow … tell me. 

 What do you really think ?? 

 Email ktaylor@scarbrough-intl.com.

 Thanks! Kim Taylor, Marketing Director