October 24, 2022
By Tomer Raanan
Backlogs on the east and Gulf coasts are easing during what is normally the traditional peak season, but inland congestion persists.
Congestion along the US east coast and the Gulf coast is finally easing as demand weakens during what is traditionally peak season. Ports saw the west coast’s backlogs earlier this year gradually shift to their waters as shippers sought to avoid the San Pedro Bay bottlenecks and amid increasing concerns over the now expired labour contract.
In the Port of New York and New Jersey, 70% of this year’s volume growth has come from cargo diverted from the west coast, port director Bethann Rooney said in September.
But the maritime bottlenecks seem to be unwinding. While the five major ports on the east and gulf coasts — New York and New Jersey, Savannah, Houston, Virginia, and South Carolina — had about 84 boxships at anchor in late-September, that figure was down to about 53, or 37%, on October 21, according to Lloyd’s List Intelligence and ports’ data.
Vessel backlogs in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were down to four vessels on October 19.
“Even though there is vessel dwell, there are not significant headwinds to get the freight off the dock and further into the supply chain. A caveat that you are going to see often is the receiving capacity,” said Paul Brashier, vice president of drayage and intermodal at third-party logistics provider ITS Logistics. “A lot of distribution centers are significantly challenged right now in their ability to receive freight and that then increases the dwell time of containers outside of terminals. Importers are flush with inventory for the most part and the distribution centers are getting close to 100% capacity, which slows down the turnaround time to get these containers back to the terminals.”
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