LA PORT AND CHASSIS CRISIS UPDATE
LA and Long Beach ports are continuing to face severe congestion, from both increased peak season volumes, as well as chassis shortages and dislocation. Almost every ocean carrier has divested themselves of chassis ownership over the last several years, which has led to truckers increasingly struggling with chassis availability from third parties.
The problem is varied. Some terminals are running short or completely out of good order working chassis, either due to high demand or due to the chassis being out of service and in need of repair. Some terminals have surpluses which can’t be used because the chassis owners don’t always maintain a sharing agreement with other terminals. Additionally, those chassis that are in the pool are frequently in use for longer amounts of times as containers wait to be unloaded at busy distribution facilities. Some terminals have stopped taking appointments altogether, and others won’t give appointments until containers are on wheels.
Warehouses are backed up in many cases and are unable to unload containers in time causing them to be stuck “on wheels” at these facilities, instead of being returned with the empties back to the terminal.
While carriers in the past would assist with last free day issues resulting from a lack of chassis, the divestiture and large scope of the problem is trending towards carriers becoming increasingly unwilling or unable to intervene with the terminals to extend free time.
We are noticing that certain terminals are turning carriers away even after they’ve been on line for hours.
In addition to delays, these problems have hit truckers pockets. Carriers are increasing base rates by 20%. They are also charging for dry runs (when turned away at the port) and increased waiting time at the ports in an effort to compensate drivers who are dealing with the long delays and inability to pick-up containers. They are offering sign-on bonuses as well as the increased wages to attract more drivers to assist with the increased volume.
The current policy of free drops in the LA/LB drop zone is not being honored by many truckers, and shippers are having to pay additional drayage charges when empties are not available for return.
We will continue to keep a close eye on the situation and as always position ourselves to handle your drayage requirements in LA/Long Beach.