BIGGER ships landing near twice the cargo and the lack of available chassis to take it away are key cause of peak season harbour congestion, say Long Beach port authorities.
At sea, 11 containerships were anchored offshore in San Pedro Bay, shared by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in what some say is the worse pile up in two years.Most ships in the queue are from the G6 alliance, whose vessels must call at several terminals within the LA-Long Beach port complex, another contributor to the congestion problem, notes Lloyd's List.
"We don't have enough chassis to go around and on top of that the ones that are available are not where they should be," said the port's chief commercial officer Noel Hacegaba.
"A big ship comes to Terminal A, for example, but Terminal B has all the chassis," Dr Hacegaba told the Long Beach Post.
"Five years ago the average containership could carry 8,000 TEU, today at the Port of Long Beach, we see vessels that are 12,000 and 14,000 TEU," he said.
Bigger ships bringing in almost twice as much cargo to ports that were designed to handle much less are taxing facilities that have yet to be enlarged to handle more.
On average, 365 containerships arrive each month, but there were 391 in as of Monday and October doesn't end till Friday. October is already the record month for 2014, surpassing May's high of 390 ships.
But the No 1 problem is chassis. There are chassis providers who supply on the basis of average use, which spikes well beyond average in the peak season when there are not enough chassis (truck trailers) to go 'round, he said.
Another problem is arriving trucks with chassis must wait until their cargo is found, often at the bottom of a stack of container which must be removed to access the needed box.
The system has been likened to all taxis at an airport each having to collect a specific passenger, and having to wait until he is found.
Some big importers, such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot and the like, now pile up all their cargo and have it taken away by the first truck hired by the company rather than having the truck wait for a specific consignment to be found in the pile of boxes.
Source : HKSG.