Experts see no ‘silver bullet’ for cargo backup as terminal operators and importers discuss when and how to operate all night
The port’s executive director, Jean Cerocca, said port officials are in talks with private companies to work out a timeline for expanding the Gateway’s seven container terminals as well as with major importers on the best ways to take their cargo. Talking about time and methods.
“We are moving as fast as we can,” said Mr Serocca. “We’re not going to create artificial deadlines.”
The cargo backlog at the neighboring ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the main gateway for Asian imports into the US, is a clear reflection of the wider problems in global supply chains that have led to shortages and high consumer costs.
More than 60 container ships were anchored in San Pedro Bay on Thursday awaiting berths at the Southern California port complex, and Mr Serocca said another 25 ships were expected to arrive in the next three days. Before the pandemic, it was unusual for more than one ship to wait for a berth.
Port congestion and bottlenecks at clogged warehouses and inland freight terminals are increasing the time it takes for toys, apparel and other products to reach US retailers from manufacturers in Asia. According to online freight marketplace Freightos, such a journey now takes more than 75 days.
At that rate, goods that haven’t left China today won’t arrive until after Christmas.
John Porcari, a Biden administration official working to ease port congestion, said Thursday that addressing the backlog will require the cooperation of a team of private sector players in the supply chain. “It’s not like flipping a light switch,” he said.
The Biden administration said Wednesday that it has secured commitments from six major companies, including Walmart, to expand overnight access at the Port of Los Angeles. Inc.,
Target Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co.
The administration says that the movement of 3,500 additional containers will be facilitated in a week. The two ports typically carry about 200,000 import boxes weekly.
Southern California ports are usually open between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, they have more limited hours on Saturdays and are usually closed on Sundays.
A pilot program launched last month to make one of six terminals on Long Beach operate 24 hours a day, four days a week, has been slow to attract truckers because of restrictions on the types of boxes that can be picked up and dropped. can go.
Some terminal operators and port truck drivers have stated that it is not worth the additional expense of operating round the clock if trucking companies, warehouses and other parts of the supply chain are also not working 24/7 to move and store cargo. Huh. Freight operators are short of labor and equipment, putting pressure on domestic logistics capacity.
The push to expand port operating hours “will not be a silver bullet,” said Douglas Kent, executive vice president of strategy and alliances at the nonprofit Association for Supply Chain Management. “If we are still jammed on the rail network and still suffering from truck driver shortages, it probably won’t be enough to solve the problem we are suffering from today,” he said.
Shekhar Natarajan, chief supply-chain officer at clothing retailer American Eagle Outfitters Inc.,
said the extended hours could reduce some movement of goods, although larger shippers who use their private trucking fleets rather than hire operators in the open market will see greater gains.
Mr Natarajan said, “Medium and small shippers will still continue to battle and experience delays, as they rely on third parties and have less direct control over their supply chain.
—Jennifer Smith contributed to this article.
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