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 December 11, 2014       

 

FMC to launch website to track congestion surcharges

The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission will launch a website soon that will serve as a clearinghouse for port congestion surcharges, following industry confusion over planned U.S. West Coast surcharges, Commissioner Michael A. Khouri said Tuesday.

“The commission is gathering information from the carriers to compare announcements and actual tariff language to ensure there is consistency between language and implementation”

 

Port of Oakland planning to expand gate hours

With its larger, consolidated terminals handling larger volumes from bigger ship calls, the Port of Oakland is considering officially expanding its gate hours for the first time, its head said Tuesday.

“At the Port of Oakland right now that port opens up at 8 a.m. and our terminal operations close at 5 (p.m.). We have terminals that are so large they are doing 5,000 gate moves. You start to do the math, with lunch, two breaks and from 8 to 5, you don’t have enough time to handle all the moves you have to handle,” Chris Lytle, executive director of the port.

 

 

Congestion crisis' roots are much deeper, broader than labor issues

 

For some, one-time factors such as the Manila truck restrictions and West Coast long-shore negotiations can be dismissed as events that create short-term disruption, but, in fact, those two examples only served to expose the vulnerabilities of the system.

This year’s slowdowns came on top of a number of existing factors that, on their own, were creating the worst congestion Los Angeles-Long Beach has seen in years. A chassis shortage and the lack of a port wide pool led to shortages in trucking capacity. Multicarrier alliances calling at multiple terminals caused further strains on trucking needed to shuttle containers between terminals. Big ships created surges of cargo. And, volumes, fueled by the resurgent U.S. economy, grew.

Part of what is exposing the system to meltdown is the growing presence of mega-ships capable of carrying more than 10,000 20-foot-equivalent units plying major trade routes. The ships were built to drive down unit costs for carriers and have left carriers and terminals with the burden of figuring out how to handle them effectively while in port.

Experience suggests there is a lot of work to be done. The big ships create surges in containers that terminals — built for an earlier era of ship sizes — are struggling to handle. If the ships fall behind in their schedules, cost-conscious carriers are loathe to speed them up and incur the extra fuel expense. That compounds the delays, because vessels that arrive late often have no available berth.

 

Our regulatory experts are monitoring the situation and keeping a close eye on labor negotiations, which began on May 12, 2014. In the meantime we are checking shipment status on a daily/hourly basis to see where our client’s cargo stands in movement towards its final destination. While we can’t control the situation we can keep you informed.

 

 The information contained in this newsletter has been compiled from various industry newsletters and other public sources. While we use reasonable efforts to furnish accurate and up-to-date information Page & Jones, Inc. is not liable or responsible for the accuracy or reliability of any information contained herein.

 



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