Closely Monitor Your Wear Parts Inventory and Do Not Delay Orders
To keep everyone up to speed on the transit times for inbound shipments:
There has been some movement to resolve the labor issues involving the major West coast ports in the US. They have not reached an agreement, but are making progress on some of the key issues.
This being said, however, even if an agreement is reached, it will be months before the backlogs of ships and containers get back to some type of normalcy. Key issues at the ports will remain a problem for some time. There are not enough trucks, drivers, and chassis to move the inbound containers to rail or their final destinations. Delays are expected to continue in to at the middle of 2015, possibly as far out as 2016.
Large scale congestion at USA and foreign ports is the result of several issues:
- Labor slowdowns and anticipated labor actions have both slowed ship loading and unloading. Labor issues at some Chinese ports slowed several weeks of deliveries. At US ports, the promise of contentious labor talks had many ship early to avoid delays if talks bogged down. Contract talks continue.
- US Ports are facing longer times unloading the new class of ever larger vessels. The delays are congesting already packed dock schedules. The terminals need more physical space, a problem that cannot be resolved quickly.
- A change in the truck chassis system in the USA has increased delays. When carriers controlled container chassis, they provided one with each container pick up. Carriers decided not long ago they didn’t want to own truck chassis, and the new system has them everywhere but where they need to be: at the port. The result is long waits for a free chassis to pull containers from the yards, and a lack of driver hours to deal with the delays.
- The surge in volume and the port delays has intermodal terminals and trucking capacity out of sync, causing further congestion.