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    Port Congestion Update and Storage Fees – The New Normal

    Hoping everyone is enjoying a beautiful start to summer.

    As importers and exporters wait for West Coast port conditions to return to normal, I do think it is time for the shipping community to perhaps accept current conditions as the new “normal”. Here is a quick snapshot of current West Coast port conditions.

      – Longshoremen are back working and have been so for months. We haven’t heard of any complaints recently beyond the same complains we’ve heard over the years. One thing to be aware of is that the ILWU contract has been ratified with a contract expiration date of 2019. Mark your calendars!!!
      – We are still seeing various terminals try to deal with congestion. Depending on the terminal, containers that arrive are sometimes still sitting in closed areas for days and in some instances, weeks. Even when the containers are available, it can takes days to get an appointment to pick up the container either with the terminal and/or with a trucker. Some in the shipping community are surprised by the continued congestion. As I mentioned in my previous newsletters, there were multiple reasons for port congestion last year that went well beyond just the ILWU labor dispute. The terminals are still dealing with these issues:
            – chassis shortages and the management of chassis storage
            – mega vessels that discharge more containers at one time
            – general uptick in container volume
            – management of consolidated terminals
      – Truckers are still in short supply. It is still extremely difficult to find truckers to complete moves.

    I really want to emphasize how imperative it is for importers to do everything they can to reduce barriers to receiving their cargo. Importers who do not have a freight release available prior to vessel arrival or who do not have proper import documentation for customs clearance are at extreme risk for getting their cargo held at the ports. In these instances, there likely will be hefty storage fees at the terminal. Truckers are NOT able to pick up a container at moment’s notice. It takes days and even weeks to arrange pickups. Great World isn’t liable for these storage fees. We will do our best to warn you of the situation, but it is preferable to avoid them all together from the very beginning by making sure you have solid import procedures in place.

    -Jimmy Ting
    Great World
    jimmyting@gwlcorp.com
    t: 650-873-9050 x1019