by Geoff Popham, Business Development Manager, Burnard International Limited - Geoff@burnard.co.nz
Congestion in Los Angeles-Long Beach has reached a crisis stage with 20 container ships stuck at anchor Tuesday 3rd Feb in the largest U.S. port complex — and no relief in sight.
The Marine Exchange of Southern California reported that the vessels at anchor increased by four since Monday. Shipping lines say vessels in recent weeks have been sitting at anchor for seven to 14 days, and when they proceed to berth, it takes another six to eight days to work the ships. Vessels in the trans-Pacific have been thrown so far off schedule that at least one line has no vessels available to carry containers from Asia because all of its ships are stuck on the West Coast.
Meanwhile, contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association appear to be going nowhere. Significant progress was made when the PMA on Jan. 26 confirmed that a tentative agreement was reached that would allow ILWU mechanics to inspect all chassis before they leave the marine terminals.
However, with hopes raised that a settlement could be forthcoming in a matter of weeks, ILWU negotiators reportedly stunned employers by returning to the bargaining table the next day with a dozen new demands, some of which are considered to be highly controversial.Arrivals and departures in New Zealand are continuing to be seriously delayed, as lines struggle with schedule integrity in the US – NZ – AU – Asia loops which are all connected.
A teleconference between the parties is scheduled for today, with media to be present.
We suggest our clients, both importers and exporters – discuss with suppliers and customers, ways and means to add at least 10 - 14 days to current lead time expectations.
We hope the parties will soon reach agreement.