The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will extend terminal gate hours for truckers, and the freight effort will lengthen night and weekend hours as the annual cargo boom in excess has left dozens of ships waiting outside the port. Abandoned – Threatening to cause retail shortages ahead of the holiday shopping season.
The country’s two busiest ports announced new measures on Friday, 17 September.
The measure is the first step towards reaching a 24/7 supply chain, which would ideally extend to warehouses and rail companies as well as fully addressing what constitutes a chain-wide, coast-to-coast logjam , said executive director Mario Cordero of the Port of Long Beach.
The plan, called “Accelerate Cargo,” was drawn up with input from supply chain stakeholders and the US Department of Transportation, with both ports serving as a national gateway for goods arriving from Asia.
“We applaud the leadership of the Biden-Harris administration,” said Port of LA Executive Director Jean Cerocca, “in response to the unprecedented global supply chain disruption at the San Pedro Bay Port Complex felt so acutely.”
Noel Hasegaba, deputy executive director of the Port of Long Beach, said the change would begin to go into effect “immediately”.
“We will kick-off the pilot program with one of our terminals,” he said, “and as more shippers take advantage of these new night gates.”
But the question remains how — and when — full port-wide implementation can begin, one stakeholder said.
“We haven’t seen any details,” said Harbor Trucking Association CEO Matt Schrappe. “It’s more than a statement of what they plan to do.”
Specifically, he said, the news release did not provide any details about how “stimulus” priorities and “corrective measures” could be implemented to move cargo during non-peak times. Is.
“There are concerns about what the corrective measures are and we don’t know what an incentive reservation system would look like,” Schrap said, adding that the association is engaged in ongoing negotiations – and will continue to be.
The announcement has been made as both ports have struggled to keep up with the huge volume of cargo flows since the summer of 2020. Incoming ships sometimes have to wait for a few days to unload in port.
And the line of ships sometimes extends into southern Orange County.
For example, on Friday, September 17, there were a total of 147 ships in port in Los Angeles and Long Beach, according to data provided by the Marine Exchange of Southern California. This broke the old record of 146 set on Wednesday. This record was broken for at least the third time this week. Of those 147 in port on Friday, 86 were in anchorage or downstream areas awaiting landing of berth assignments. And there were 95 container ships – also a record.
Often, Schrap said, truckers would wait to drop off with an unloaded container — known as a “double transaction” when also picking up loaded cargo — only to be redirected to another terminal because The types of blanks vary and may not all be accepted on a specific terminal at that particular time.
“There’s a lot of crowds out there,” he said, “and you can’t violate the law of physics that says there’s only so much room to go around.”
Additional complications occurred this summer when the Chicago rail hub also began backing up with cargo being brought in from Pacific ports.
Longshore workers are often praised by both port chiefs for working longer hours and increasing productivity as the boom has played out. As per union contract, ILWU shifts begin at 8 a.m., 6 p.m. and 3 p.m. The third shift—known as the “hoot” shift—usually does not operate fully.
ILWU Coast Committee member Frank Ponce de Leon said workers “welcome the opportunity” for “extended gate and weekend hours”. Labor contracts, he said, already allow employers to hire workers for the third (3 a.m.) shift to enable round-the-clock movement of cargo.
“Dockworkers are breaking records at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach carrying more cargo than ever before,” he said, “and this move by port directors will only work if others in the supply chain face challenges.”
The Port of Long Beach, with the new measures announced on Friday, is “ready to take bold and immediate action,” Cordero said, “to help move the record cargo volumes up the supply chain that are crippling our economy.” carry forward.”
Cordero and Cerocca issued commentary in written releases that emanated from both ports.
The two ports will work with the trucking community to help operators understand incentive gate hours and how to take advantage of opportunities to move cargo at non-peak times, the release said.
But the details, Shrap said, would require more clarification.
“It’s better than nothing,” he said of the announcement on Friday. “But until we look more holistically, expanding gate hours will not solve all the challenges.
“We are a fully integrated supply chain,” he said, referring to the many pieces that are being coordinated across the country. “But we have to start somewhere and at least the discussions are taking place.”
The reservation system now in place, Shrap said, is not working. He recommends opening the gate two hours earlier in the morning. “There will be a huge difference to driver efficiency,” he said.
A Port of Long Beach spokesman said more details about the program would be released next week.
John Porcari, the port envoy for the Biden administration’s task force on supply chain disruptions, said in a written statement that he “looks forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders to strengthen the habitat of our transportation supply chain.”
Two neighboring ports in San Pedro Bay carry about 40% of all containerized cargo entering the US.
Ports will continue to work with the White House Supply Chain Disruption Task Force to reduce barriers and accelerate the movement of goods to consumers, as well as expand export opportunities for U.S. exporters, including agricultural producers .
Both ports have repeatedly broken cargo records since last summer – after an initial crash due to various business closures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus – and that boom is expected to continue through 2022.
The Port of LA, in June, became the first port in the Western Hemisphere to move 10 million containers in a 12-month period. Long Beach Port, which had the best August in history last month, is expected to hit about 950,000 twenty-foot equivalent units — the standard cargo measurement — by the end of its fiscal year this month.
But the upcoming backlog has raised supply concerns ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Ed Desmond, executive vice president of the toy association, spoke during Serocca’s monthly press conference earlier this week and urged people to start shopping for gifts early. Major retail chains such as Target and Walmart hire private container ships to transport their goods.
“Get out and buy toys now,” Desmond said. “If you see toys you think kids might want for Christmas, pick them up now and put them away to make sure you have them. Right now, there’s a fairly healthy supply in stores. We don’t Know what’s going to happen when we hit the road closer to Christmas.”