Forecasters predict less congestion at U.S. West Coast ports
The upcoming transpacific peak season will not be affected by the same levels of port congestion that blighted U.S. West Coast ports last summer, according to speakers at the Port of Long Beach’s “Pulse of the Ports” peak season forecast conference.
Last year cargo and vessels were often delayed for a week or more at U.S. West Coast ports because of labor shortages at rail yards, port shipping terminals and trucking companies. Experts also underestimated trade growth, which reached 12 percent after initial forecasts of less than 5 percent.
For this year, cargo gains of between 10 to 15 percent have been forecast. In preparation for this year’s increase, speakers said that extra workers and equipment have been added, and that cargo has been moving smoothly throughout the year so far.
“All of the signs during the first six months have been extremely favorable,” said John Joseph of Limited Brand. “So I think there is reason to be optimistic.”
“We had one-week delays last year and that’s not going to happen this year,” said Doug Tilden of Marine Terminals.
“We may see two-to-three-day delays,” during the peak season, said Frank Baragona of CMA CGM.
Some speakers were concerned about a possible shortage of truck drivers. “If they can’t get more turns (cargo shipments), and make more money, we’re not going to get more drivers,” said Bob Curry Jr. of California Multimodal Inc.