West Coast container vessel port congestion continues, spreads

West Coast container vessel port congestion continues, spreads

West Coast container vessel port congestion continues, spreads

Congestion of container vessels at the ports in Los Angeles to Long Beach, California continues, with reports of the start of overcrowding also spreading to the Oakland port.

It seems that ships avoiding the LA-LB port and going directly to Oakland are also seeing higher than normal numbers queuing at anchor; a total of 17 were reported yesterday, according to data from MarineTraffic.

These large backups of vessels waiting on the water have been caused by a mixture of Covid-19 related workforce reductions, leading to a lack of skilled crane operators, as well as an undersupply of chassis at the terminals.

Instead of container shortages, a scarcity of chassis has been impacting the timings and congestion heavily at the LA-LB port.

Ron Gill, Operations Manager at Bengard Marketing told FreshFruitPortal.com that: “There is always going to be some shortage of containers, but the bigger issue is the lack of chassis that are used to transport the containers around.”

Having an already limited pool of chassis to pull from and some terminals having restrictive policies of how to handle them, can make the situation quite complicated.

The disruption of port operations caused by the pandemic is unlikely to subside quickly.

According to Gill, although the overall trend for exporters is to stay away from container vessels as much as they can, some countries don’t have bulk service options.

Argentina and Peru only have the option of containers, but as less volume is coming from South America, there isn’t as much of the danger of having a huge vessel stuck at the terminal.

“When the containers do come in it may be one or two at a time as opposed to 12 or 15, so we are hoping that those come out within a reasonable amount of time.”

“The worst is hopefully behind us as the volume from South America decreases,” Gill said.