West Coast Ports Expand Operations to Ease Container Shipping Woes

Posted on 10/26/2021 by Roger Marks

Earlier this year, cargo ships arriving to west coast ports were reportedly waiting six days on average to unload and dock. Since, congestion and wait times have only increased. 

Now, the White House has announced actions to address jammed-up ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach. Together with business, port, and union leaders, the White House announced a “series of public and private commitments to move more goods faster” through these critical ports. 

Among the changes: The port of Los Angeles will expand to 24/7 operation. Large retailers, freight companies, and the longshore and warehouse union (ILWU) have agreed to move more cargo at night. The White House released a Fact Sheet that includes a detailed list of initiatives being undertaken to address supply chain delays as the holiday season approaches.  
“Unlike leading ports around the world, US ports have failed to realize the full possibility offered by operation on nights and weekends.” 

White House Fact Sheet (October 13, 2021)

Long Beach Loosens Container Stacking Rules

In an October 22 press release, the City of Long Beach announced that they will relax zoning provisions that limit container stacking height in the City. The enforcement waiver will last for 90 days from October 22. 

"During this period, affected operations will be allowed to stack four (4) shipping containers without being cited for a Code violation." The normal stacking limit is two containers or eight feet in height. The limits were put in place years ago to "address the visual impact to surrounding areas of sites with excessive storage." 

What’s the Hold Up?

To say the least, moving goods from Point A to Point B has been a major challenge lately. Shippers of everything from cotton balls to corrosive chemicals are contending with overcrowded ports, shortages of raw materials and shipping containers, staffing uncertainty, and limited cargo space.

On top of these challenges, logistics professionals must keep themselves and their employees up to date on evolving health and safety practices and regulations.

Consumer spending on durable goods, especially via e-commerce, increased during a year of social distancing and imports to the US rose 40% year-over-year. At the same time, pandemic-related production shutdowns and transportation restrictions disrupted global supply chains.

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Tags: hazmat shipping, IMDG, logistics, long beach, los angeles, vessel shipping

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