Port Logjams Reach Savannah as Container Ships Idle off Georgia Coast

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The flotilla of ships exceeds 20 ships at the fourth largest gateway for maritime imports in the US

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According to maritime industry executives, the backlog is largest at East Coast ports, which typically do not face the kind of congestion that has disrupted operations on the West Coast, including containers at the neighboring ports of Los Angeles and Long Includes frequent backup of ships. Beach. The backup spanned 73 ships this month as measured by the Marine Exchange of Southern California and counted 66 container ships this week.

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Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, which operates the port of Savannah, said important gateways for goods moving to the US Southeast and Midwest are filled with shipments by retailers to restore inventory ahead of the holidays. has given. The load has at times overwhelmed trucking operations that connect Savannah’s shipments to points inland.

“Business is booming and e-commerce is booming,” he said. “We have seen this transition from time to time in supply chains just in case, and it is changing our environment significantly. With all this extra cargo being imported, it goes from the ship side to the dock side to the warehouses. and is creating a backlog across the entire supply chain.”

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The backup is part of a rush that has backed cargo around the world this year as disruptions at ports from China to Europe and the US have slowed the flow of shipments from electronics to manufacturing parts, increased shipping costs and time- created a shortage in time. some stuff.

In Savannah, imports exceeded the equivalent of 1.8 million loaded containers in the first eight months of the year, a 30.1% increase from the same period a year earlier.

Mr Lynch said the “residence time” for containers waiting to be transported in and out of port has increased from an average of four to five days to 12 days, up from 9.2 days this week.

“At one time we were removing more containers from ships than trucks coming to our gates,” he said.

Delays in moving shipping containers are exacerbated by the reduction in the specialized chassis that trucks need to handle the boxes. Savannah shares that equipment in a pool with other Southeast ports, but officials say many chassis are tied up at congested warehouses and inland transit points, leaving docks smaller and containers waiting.

Delays on land are waiting ships because the port cannot unload the inbound boxes unless there is space to store them.

Georgia’s Port Authority moved to address the backup with approval this week of a $34 million plan to accelerate the expansion of Savannah’s container storage capacity. The port expects to have space to hold 1.6 million more containers in 20-foot equivalent units in December, a standard industry measure.

In general, US ports outside Southern California facilities show only a handful of vessels waiting offshore, according to Boston Consulting Group. The backups at Los Angeles and Long Beach are having a major impact on supply chains because those neighboring ports together handle more than a third of US maritime imports.

A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which manages the largest ocean gateway on the East Coast, said there were seven container ships at anchor from the port on Tuesday and all are expected to dock in the next 48 hours. Was. Spokesman Scott Ladd said container ships anchored for an average of 1.3 days before going to berth this year.

Paul Page [email protected] . Feather

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