Impacts of the West Coast Port Congestion

urlIt is common knowledge that the ports on the US West Coast are facing massive congestion right now. There are issues like an abundance of containers coming in, a lack of chassis available and a possible labor dispute that might be contributing to the congestion. The good news is that there might be a new agreement soon between the workers in the International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union and the companes in Pacific Maritime Association. While a new labor contract with the dockworkers is a nice start, the damage has already been done to many companies. Their containers have been stuck at the ports for so long that there are long-term financial consequences. The delays resulted in an additional 1 to 3 weeks of waiting and more costly ocean freight shipping rates.

One company impacted for the congestion has been UPS. The delays on the West Coast contributed to UPS’ financial losses during the holidays. The reason is because they had to spend money in order to take care of shipments because of the massive delays. Usually, UPS moves their ocean freight through intermodal transportation, but they had to divert trucks to cover the delay.

The carriers are serious about ending the delays. That is why they are adding 36 new trans-Pacific vessels to alleviate the congestion at the ports. This equates to a total of 233,000 TEUs in the region. However, it might take months for the ports to return to normalcy. Companies should speak to a trusted freight forwarder about their international shipping options while the West Coast ports get organized.

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