• ITVI.USA
    15,415.310
    54.710
    0.4%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.761
    -0.007
    -0.3%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.110
    -0.300
    -1.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,387.520
    55.710
    0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.140
    0.190
    6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.590
    0.150
    10.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.330
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.170
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.080
    0.130
    3.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,415.310
    54.710
    0.4%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.761
    -0.007
    -0.3%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.110
    -0.300
    -1.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,387.520
    55.710
    0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.140
    0.190
    6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.590
    0.150
    10.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.330
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.170
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.080
    0.130
    3.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
American ShipperShipping

Report: Increased industry engagement needed to address port congestion

A new whitepaper by American Shipper, in collaboration with the Virginia Maritime Association, tackles some of the thorny problems behind cargo delays at key U.S. ports.

   Collaboration is a common buzzword in the logistics arena, but business partners talking about sharing information and best practices along the supply chain and actually doing it are two different things. And, until recently, the collaboration principle has not been widely practiced in the maritime industry.
   The systemic gridlock that has gripped several major U.S. ports during the past two years, however, is forcing the cargo community to come together and find solutions that can make these gateways more productive. Some container yards have become so crowded as container volumes have climbed that port shuttle truckers are finding it difficult to make a living because they can only make one or two revenue-generating trips a day. New working groups have sprung up in Southern California and the Port of New York/New Jersey to devise and implement action plans that take into account all vested interests.
   But, according to a new white paper produced by American Shipper, there is a great thirst among the leaders of freight transportation companies, port operators and shippers for a regional and national dialogue to address data exchange, technology, risk management and operational best practices that are relevant beyond individual port regions.
   “The labor strife that led to a lengthy slowdown in operations at West Coast ports last winter has been resolved, but port congestion is still top of mind for international cargo shippers and service providers,” Eric Kulisch, trade and transportation editor at American Shipper and the author of the white paper said. “What is so interesting from discussions with those in upper management is that they really want the federal government or some other neutral party to bring them in for regular meetings, not just a one-off summit, where they can roll up their sleeves, learn how others in the supply chain operate, and figure out where the operational gaps are in how they interact at ports.”
   What is missing, Kulisch said, is an appreciation for the impact of changes one or two steps removed in the supply chain. “Direct business partners are better these days at working in their collective best interests, but ports are like interconnected webs of actors and an operational change by one group of parties can have unintended consequences and ripple effects for others in the supply chain. That is why it is critical to get all the stakeholders engaged and force them to look beyond their self-interest for the good of the entire system,” he said.
   The whitepaper, “Best Practices and Collaboration For Curbing Port Congestion,” is the end product of a day-long series of panels held during the Virginia Maritime Association’s annual conference in May. Chief executive officers and top managers from across the supply chain spectrum identified the sources of port congestion, potential solutions and how to implement them. The whitepaper is sponsored by McAllister Towing, which operates at ports along the eastern seaboard.
   Recommendations in the report include the need for better use of information technology so ocean carriers, terminal operators, motor carriers and others can better coordinate truck moves. Technology platforms are also important to help carriers, chassis providers and shippers flip equipment in the field to minimize empty moves to and from the port. And steps like “speed gates” should be considered to improve terminal efficiency, according to the report.
   American Shipper produces a series of benchmark research reports aimed at transportation and global trade practitioners, and also conducts research on topical issues. Click here for more information on our research and reports.

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