Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior EditorDec 28, 2022, 9:30 AM EST
Articles reproduced by permission of Journal of Commerce.
Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor
Dec 28, 2022, 9:30 AM EST
source : JOC.com (The Journal of Commerce)
Photo credit: Angel DiBilio / Shutterstock.com.
A look back: Declining cargo import volumes through US West Coast ports — down 3.6 percent year over year in the first 10 months of 2022, according to PIERS, a Journal of Commerce sister product within S&P Global — and operational improvements implemented by terminal operators all but cleared congestion from West Coast ports, especially Los Angeles and Long Beach, by the fall. By late November, the container ship backlog outside Los Angeles–Long Beach was zero, down from a record 109 in January. Dwell times for containers leaving the marine terminals by truck were back at or near pre-pandemic averages by October, as were truck turn times at the gates. “There is no congestion. Zero. Zip. This gateway is fluid,” Leo Huisman, managing director/Americas region at APM Terminals, told the Journal of Commerce in late November. The only area of port operations in Los Angeles–Long Beach that remained problematic was rail container dwell times, as BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad continued to “meter” train capacity deployed to the West Coast in order to relieve pressure on their congested ramps in the Midwest. Aside from sporadic work stoppages by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) that lasted a day or two in Oakland and the Northwest Seaport Alliance of Seattle-Tacoma, those ports were also fluid last summer and fall, according to terminal operators.
A new normal: When West Coast terminal operators were struggling to handle record cargo volumes as consumer spending spiked in 2021 and 2022, they implemented process improvements to address the congestion. Use of near-dock temporary storage sites, fees to disincentivize long-dwelling containers on marine terminals, and peel piles that aggregate containers for designated importers for rapid removal, for example, have noticeably improved port operations and will remain in place as volumes wane.