Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ripple Effect

Chassis shortages causing extensive delays in the ports of Los Angeles & Long Beach.

A chassis shortage has plagued the port complex in Los Angeles and Long Beach all year since shipping lines divested themselves of chassis. It continues to get worse and could lead to portwide gridlock if it is not addressed quickly and aggressively, terminals say.

All terminal operators are experiencing excessive delays at the LA/LGB ports, mainly due to a severe shortage of chassis available for the market. Since the ocean carriers have gradually stopped providing chassis, forwarders and truckers are now relying on chassis pools and leasing companies to provide the equipment needed, but there is not sufficient volumes of available chassis to satisfy the demand at this time. This is a problem that New York-New Jersey, the second-largest U.S. port complex, also faces.

Lack of coordination is another problem. Often, one of the 13 container terminals in Los Angeles-Long Beach has a surplus of hundreds, or even thousands of chassis, and another terminal is begging for equipment. In many cases drayage companies are now required to pick up a chassis from a secondary location prior to attempting to pick up a container at a specific terminal. As a result, drivers are waiting in longer lines at the terminals and missing appointments, which is leading to a loss in productivity and higher operating costs. The current turn around time to pick a container up at these terminals is three to five days longer than usual, and in some cases those delays are even longer.

Volumes of ocean containers arriving into LA/LGB ports hit an all time high in August and exceeded all volume forecasts, thus causing a huge strain on the entire system. Should volumes continue at this level the chassis shortages and longer waiting times at all terminals in the LA/LGB area and elsewhere will continue to occur, and the ripple effect will impact shipments throughout the system.

Kirk Shearer
800-989-0054 x103

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