Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach reach an incredible 70 container ships waiting for a docking site

Meanwhile, Vietnam keeps its ports closed and Covid-19 threatens to put the port of Xiamen in check

The previous week the unthinkable sum of 71 ships waiting to berth in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (LA-LB) was counted. Jon monroe, an industry analyst explains that a ship can take up to two weeks to get a mooring. In addition, approximately 40 vessels are at the anchorage and another 20 or 30 remain adrift and once they have drifted, for example 2 miles, they return to their original position. "Can you imagine the amount of fuel that is burned?" Asks the analyst.

In addition, a ship already docked can later lose yet another time to be unloaded. “If a small vessel (less than 2.000 TEUs) took 2 and a half days to unload and leave a terminal, now it can take between 4 and 6 days. In this plane, he explains that the documentation of the time of arrival and the obtaining of the mooring does not guarantee the workforce, which has become as problematic as the mooring. Crews are assigned daily and the number of crews (1 crew = 1 crane) needed to unload the ship depends on the size of the ship.

"Right now it's crazy," he points out. Monroe, who explains that if the pier is too congested, the terminal will cancel crews to wait for the pier to clear. Thus, these are the three most pressing problems congesting Southern California terminals today: berths, manpower (the right number of crews for the ship to work efficiently) and capacity of the vessels. ports.

It details that there are other factors that contribute to this, such as the excess of ships and the lack of rail and train equipment to move the containers out of the terminals to a place in the interior, which is becoming a problem as shipping lines begin to limit IPI shipments [Interior Point Intermodal]. Given the above, companies are opting for a transshipment model on the West Coast, which is adding more congestion to the terminal space.

He maintains that it appears that the LA-LB ports will move to a 24/7 operating model, at least for the time being. “This will help to some extent, however, if importers do not step up to adapt to this change, we will not be able to bear the potential inefficiencies. Once the ports are full, the terminals cancel crews and wait for the containers to clear before unloading more containers. Importers will have to modify their resources (trucks) to collect containers at night. Currently, only part of the containers are collected at night. Let's see how this works. We need it to work.

Favorable measure?

In the middle of this congestion Monroe questions MSC's move to announce two new services with calls at southern California ports. And the doubts are evident: Is it really necessary to add more calls at LA-LGB ports? How much more tonnage can shipping lines add to an overloaded system? Does the new MSC service add value to the trade? The answer according to Monroe is that "not really", as it "only adds more complexity to the current congestion. Last month, the Port of Los Angeles barely exceeded one million TEUs. A record number. Can LA handle the volume? The truth is, no".

And despite the paralysis of ships, it seems that more capacity is entering the ocean. TSI Lines, the intra-Asian feeder service, introduced vessels on the Trans-Pacific route that call in Vancouver. COSCO, for its part, will increase the size of its vessels by a service from 5.000 TEUs to 13.000 TEUs and may have an even larger vessel calling in LA. «At a time when we need more than ever blank sailings, we are receiving more ships. What are shipping lines thinking about? Question Monroe before concluding that “the only investments they make are in more ships to earn more money. They have lost their focus on trading. '

Everything is used to transport containers

“Once again, we are in the middle of an asset chain jam, a collapse, or whatever you want to call it. All vessels that have a large enough bottom to transit the Pacific are accepting containers, no matter the type. Swire Shipping has recently started moving containers on its bulk carriers. All shipping companies, of any type, want to take advantage of the flourishing Trans-Pacific route, "he says.

Monroe explains that this started with the freight of multipurpose ships that can load a small number of containers like bulk carriers, but “even so, they serve to move containers and unload them in terminals that are not so congested, which speeds up the delivery process ».

Asia port

According to comments Monroe, the ports of Vietnam is still closed and it could be some time before it recovers and returns to normal. The country has less than 6% of the population vaccinated, so its exports of footwear and toys will be complicated by the Christmas season. In Xiamen, China, a similar situation exists and is getting worse. Factories are closing while workers are being asked to stay home. It may take several weeks before you recover. The government is demanding that the entire city be examined "and reiterates that in China" they will do whatever is necessary to prevent the Covid from spreading to other cities and provinces. Even if that means closing their factories and ports.

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