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North American ports struggle as pressures increase

Ports across the USA are struggling as increasing pressure on the running of operations is resulting in congestion at all major terminals.

The growing number of active COVID-19 cases amongst port workers is creating bottlenecks due to a lack of available workforce, while truckers report on difficulties in returning empty containers to terminals and surging Asian import volumes are squeezing chassis supply. 

With volumes having continued to increase since late November/December last year, chassis shortage has become a reality as containers cannot be unloaded fast enough with an unprecedented amount of import containers having taken up all of the marine terminal space.

Meanwhile, ports in Southern California have been particularly hard hit by COVID-19, reporting nearly 700 new cases across Los Angeles and Long Beach ports and another 60 in San Diego. California has seen between 30,000 - 60,000 daily new cases throughout December and early January.

Nearly 1800 dock workers are currently not working as a result of self-isolation or while waiting for test results, Eugene Seroka, executive director of the LA port reported. 

Today, there are 42 vessels awaiting berths at LA port with the large buildup having a ripple effect on ocean freight services with some carriers actioning cancellations of sailings as a result, and cargo now stacking up at nearby warehouses with truck capacity tightening, and chassis dwells lengthening. Port cutoffs and first receiving dates are not reliable or consistent, causing issues with drayage arrangements. Truckers report full yards of empty and loaded containers with no designated return dates yet, and dock workers have warned of possible strike action in light of the risk of COVID-19 cases across ports. 

We are in touch with all carriers and suppliers, and will work with you on alternative routes and supply chain solutions to minimise impact. Please contact your local Woodland representative with any questions or reach out to us here

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