West Coast Port Volume Increases as Terminals Clear Backlog
The major West Coast Ports recently reported substantial increases in container traffic in March after months of dealing with congestion and having cargo diverted to other ports.
Port Trends: Increases in container volume in March 2015 compared to March 2014:
- Port of Los Angeles: +17.3%
- Port of Long Beach: +32%
- Seattle-Tacoma: +21%
- Oakland: +8.1%
Port Trends: Despite strong March numbers, volumes were so soft in January and February that some major ports are reporting decreases in container volume year over year for first quarter 2015:
- Port of Los Angeles: – 5%
- Port of Long Beach: – 3.3%
Despite these significant improvements since a tentative labor agreement was signed on February 20th between the ILWU and the PMA, some West Coast ports are still coping with the residual effect of the prolonged congestion. Local authorities are still reporting container ships at anchor awaiting berths at the Ports of LA and Long Beach.
Cargo Diversions Create Congestion Issues on East Coast
As the West Coast ports continue to clear up, the NY-NJ port on the East Coast is experiencing congestion of its own. The diverted cargo from the West Coast and the increasing size of container ships has led to record levels of imports at some East Coast locations.
These high levels have created congestion issues including a recent report of a 700-truck line waiting to pick up loads at the Port of New York and New Jersey. “We believe the extreme traffic conditions experienced over the past several days are a clear indication that immediate action must be taken,” the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers said in a statement. To handle rising volumes, several terminals have extended their afternoon gate hours and occasional Saturday gates, however congestion issues still remain.
3 Ways You Can Be Prepared
- Communicate with overseas trading partners on material availability and scheduling shipments/orders.
- Consider additional lead time wherever possible as the “Just-In-Time” philosophy may work for certain supply chains, but not all.
- Be thorough when verifying your container appointments with your vendors.
Odyssey will continue to monitor the port trends and keep you advised of any actions recommended for your business. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call 855-412-0202.