13 March 2015

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Please find the below summary of the current situation regarding the congestion at US West Coast Ports and the subsequent fall out on East Coast Ports, as reported by our US partners. 

It is our understanding that the ILWU contract will be voted on March 30, 2015.  For now, the ILWU and PMA are working 24/7 to help clear up the backlogs on the West Coast.

The overall situation on the West Coast remains challenging.  As of today we have a significant amount of IPI traffic dwelling over 5 days in Long Beach.  The terminals are working ships during two shifts, but the available labor is still tight at many of the terminals.  

Long Beach:  The situation in Long Beach remains dynamic and complex. Given the situation, the domino effect on the local drayage moves continues to increase as we navigate through the issues with each shift.  A number of drayage vendors are advising a 5 day delay in making deliveries.  Steamship line routed deliveries and pick-ups are seeing between five and ten day delays.  Terminals have resumed hiring vessel gangs on nights and weekends.  Because of the vessel backlog and expected round the clock demand on labor, there will not be enough labor to fully staff the vessel and yard operations for the next few months.   Where vessels were previously taking more than a week to sail, the carriers now expect to process vessels in much less time.   As a result, we may see more than a week’s worth of cargo discharging and moving from the terminals in each week until this is cleaned up.  To handle this, velocity through the terminals and with chassis are imperative. 

Oakland:  The Oakland UP Terminal has improved over the past few weeks, although we are still experiencing significant drayage delays in the area.  Volumes still continue to arrive via the UP rail from Southern CA, and while the volumes may be smaller than normal, the congestion in the entire area still remains.  Drayage delays are currently at 3 to 4 days .

Tacoma:  The overall delivery delay situation in the PNW continues to be associated with slow gate operations in and out of the terminals and limited truck availability in the area.  The main issues we are facing are the wait times for securing empties for export and import load deliveries.  At this time drivers are only able to perform one or possibly two moves a day because of the delays and limited turn times.

Vancouver:  We continue to experience some congestion issues in Vancouver.  The backlog of rail traffic has resulted in two to four hour delays for a large portion of our rail shipments.  Vanterm is having to slow down vessel discharge in order to allow more time for on dock traffic to depart.  This is adding an additional 24-36 hour delay in vessel berthing and departures.    Overall weather related issues that affect rail traffic have diminished and once the freight is moving, it appears to be moving near schedule.

Inland IPI (Inland Port Intermodal) Rail Hubs:  Many of the IPI rail hubs are now facing greater congestion issues as a result of the increased volumes now arriving off the West Coast.  Trucks and chassis are becoming significantly tighter over the past 48 hours and this is anticipated to continue for the next sixty days.  Weather conditions in the area have improved which is allowing the ability to repair damaged assets.  The weather is anticipated to remain under normal conditions, however, we continue to expect there to be delays of 2 to 3 days in making appointment for deliveries on both Imports and Exports.

Savannah:  Delays in SAV due to heavy volumes and vessel bunching have seen improvement.  Most of carrier routed Door deliveries have been completed within port free time guidelines.

Norfolk:  Port congestion delays continue due to heavy volumes coupled with winter weather resulting in Port closures during weeks 8 & 9. Terminal capacity and gate turn times are an issue in the 3-6 hour range at both facilities.  Delays on IMP door deliveries are trying to rebound as truck power is trying to catch up with the current volumes of cargo.

Charleston:  Truck power is currently adequate for the port of Charleston.  Last week's winter storm resulted in some minor delays for destinations in Tennessee and portions of the Carolinas.  The majority of deliveries were made within the  ports free time guidelines.

New York:   Congestion is improving over last week, as the weather is 20-30 degrees warmer.  As the weather has improved, so has the truck and terminal equipment productivity.  There is still a backup of trucks due to last week’s snow and extreme temperatures.  At this time, we are anticipating 24-48 hour delays in setting up appointments for local moves.  Vessel bunching is not as severe as in recent weeks.  Chassis are still tight due to last week’s delays.

TCF and its partners are constantly working to provide you with the most relevant and up to date port information possible.  Should you require any further information please contact your local sales or customer service representative.