Private Companies Step Up to Port Backlog Crisis
First it was the federal government, then it was the state of California, now, private industries are joining in on the efforts to reduce the backlog at the twin ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.
Retailers Shift to Night Shift
With the recent changes to 24/7 operations at the twin ports to help fight the backlog, it is still up to companies and truckers to take advantage of the added hours. The following companies have made announcements, in one form or another, to add off-peak hours to their schedule:
- Stanley Black & Decker. They announced 33% of its goods will be moved off-peak hours.
- GAP, Inc. announced that it will move 15% of its goods during off-peak hours.
- United Parcel Service.
- Home Depot.
The use of off-peak hours helps with the crisis in two ways. Not only does it mean that more goods are leaving the ports in total, but less congestion during peak hours means that crucial time can be used more efficiently.
Rail Carriers Offer Discounts
The trucking industry may be getting some competition.
With talks of fees for idle containers that are stricter for containers traveling by rail than by truck, some rail carriers are offering further incentives. Both Union Pacific and BNSF Railway are offering discounts (referred to as “refunds” and “incentives”, respectively) to companies moving their containers of goods by rail on the weekends.
Rail is still limited in its ability to move goods when compared to trucks, so these discounts may not be enough to kick the trucking industry out of resolving the backlog. At the very least, once the container is no longer shipped by rail, it almost certainly will still have a few miles it will need to travel by truck, just in the state of Oklahoma instead of California.
The plan to unclog the backlog appears to be working with moderate success. According to the White House, the number of containers idling for nine days or more at the twin ports has decreased by over 20% from November 1st to the 8th. Not only are older containers moving, but most newer containers are leaving before they become too old.
The number of ships waiting with containers changes depending on who you ask, but average estimates are currently between 70 and 80. We will continue to keep you posted as the story unfurls.
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