26 April 2015

[260414.EN.SEA] Alliances Mess Up Terminal Operations: FMC's Doyle Tells Athens Meet

LARGE shipping alliances - those comprising more than three ocean carriers - are contributing to port congestion, according to US Federal Maritime Commissioner (FMC) William Doyle.

Speaking at the European Maritime Law Organisation's (EMLO) Spring Seminar in Athens, the commissioner said the problem had been aggravated by ships not meeting their scheduled windows, resulting in bunching on reaching ports.

"Once at the terminal, these new larger ships discharge cargo, one ship after the other - swamping the terminal," he said.

Citing the Asia-US west coast trade lane, which was hard hit by congestion and docker go-slows for four months from November, Mr Doyle said the "disorganised" block loading of containers at load ports was a contributing factor leading to confusion at the discharge terminal, reported London's Loadstar.

"The containers are scattered all over the west coast terminals making it difficult for truckers and shippers to retrieve their cargo," he said.

It has been reported that the G6 alliance's six members have the most complicated operation at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, serving seven terminals at the San Pedro Bay port complex, with some of the members suffering above average extra costs during the peak of the congestion troubles.

There is no doubt that an 8,000- to 10,000-TEU ship co-loading for six carriers in Asia from four or five ports for discharge at seven terminals on the US west coast, is an extremely challenging operation requiring a complex stowage plan.

Source : HKSG.

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