10 November 2014

[101114.EN.SEA] LA-Long Beach Snarl Up Worsens, Truckers Seek Freedom From Rest Rules

DWELL times at Los Angeles and Long Beach now average 6-21 days depending on the terminal, says DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific chief David Goldberg, reports Lloyd's List.

“Vessels are also sitting at anchor two to five days waiting for a berth,?he said. “Vessel discharge is taking three to five days longer due to the lack of labour and because the terminals have run out of room to unload the vessels.?

On top of that, harbour truckers are chaffing at new federal rest rules, which now prevent them from working more hours than allowed, reports the Long Beach Press Telegram.

Increasingly tense contract talks between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the employers bargaining unit, the Pacific Maritime Association, have prompted go-slow campaigns by dockers.

Said Transpacific Stabilisation Agreement (TSA) spokesman Niels Erich: "Terminal consolidation and congestion, longshore labour negotiations, a transition in chassis management and shortages of truck and rail capacity have all combined with a sustained peak season to back up cargo in the terminals and, increasingly, aboard ships awaiting berth."

UPS warns customers to expect port congestion for the “foreseeable future?

Said DHL's Mr Goldberg: “The shortage of truck drivers nationwide has also caused delays in getting trucking appointments and some truckers have refused to go into the ports because of the delays in being able to retrieve loads for delivery."

He also said chassis are now controlled by leasing companies which have chassis pools outside the port area, causing further delays because truckers must now go to one location for the chassis and then to the terminal for pickup.

Finding it impossible to work under new federal rest period rules, the Harbour Trucking Association is seeking an exemption from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requiring a 34-hour rest period for truckers.

An exemption would allow one of the biggest terminal operators on the waterfront, Long Beach Container Terminal (LBCT), to open its gates on Sundays to move backed-up cargo.

"Something has to be done," said LBCT president Anthony Otto, whose terminal already is open Friday nights to improve goods flow. "We need to move freight. The same story I get from everyone is, 'I'd love to come on Sunday, but I've run out of hours,'" Mr Otto said.

Source : HKSG.

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