Ports across the United States continue to struggle to clear out congestion amidst record-setting import volumes into the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. In addition to the huge influx of cargo moving through the ports, there are also weather delays, missed berthing windows, and the lingering effects of the pandemic to consider.
The waters outside the Port of Los Angeles are holding boatloads of cargo that simply cannot get to the dock. Vessels cannot get unloaded fast enough, causing a ripple effect impacting every sector of the supply chain. In the image below, you will notice that for next week, we are expecting 153,644 TEUs, which is close to 96% more than what we had last year. This is just a snapshot of Los Angeles Port, but we are now seeing the effects of this congestion to spread across other ports in the East Coast, where imports are also surging.
To add to the blend, rates are at record highs and space is still very scarce throughout many countries, making it difficult to even get a booking in the first place. Once you do get a booking, you’re likely paying top dollar and looking at a significantly increased transit time. As a result, more freight is being pushed through air options, and we’re seeing delays at airlines now as well. Trucking is also at a limited capacity due to volumes and also due to the effects of the pandemic. In general, freight coming from China, should be expected to at least 25-30 days longer than usual if it’s being routed via USWC ports.
Many companies servicing airlines as ground handling agents, LTL trucking company’s terminals across the nation and also CFS stations have significantly reduced their personnel as measures to stop the spread of this virus and stay afloat after dramatic slowdowns in volumes earlier this year. In addition to this, many companies have implemented work from home measures, which in many cases have decreased productivity and ease of communication between companies. Given the spikes we have seen in import volumes in the past months, we are seeing service levels from all types of vendors at the lowest we have seen ever before as they cannot cope with the amount of work piling in and the increased volumes which continue to surge. Transit times are taking twice as long for domestic LTL transport, calls and status requests to steamship lines and LTL carriers can take as much as 2-4 hours on a single shipment, payments to steamship lines are taking as much as 72 hours to be processed by their freight cashier staff, and drayage companies are at capacity due to constant delays of vessel arrivals at ports.
We understand that your freight is valuable and that these kinds of delays are harmful to your supply chain. We are committed to doing everything possible to keep your freight moving, and making sure you are kept informed.
To that end, please be sure you are taking advantage of our electronic tracking system that will keep you informed with the most up-to-date information possible. Please contact your salesperson or customer service representative if you have any questions.
Thank you for your continued support and pushing through these terrible times. We are doing the best we can to serve you with as little delay as possible, but the ripple effects of the pandemic and import surges have really taken a toll on every single player on this supply chain, making our ability to do so much more complicated than ever before. We value your business, please contact us if you have any questions.