Transpacific carriers report continuing U.S. shoreside congestion
Pacific carriers said peak-season shipments are moving through U.S. West Coast terminals better than the gridlock experienced last year, intermodal congestion is slowing the movement of goods to shippers.
'Intermodal delays of up to a week in getting import containers delivered to U.S. customers are commonplace,' the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA), a voluntary forum of 12 container shipping lines, said Tuesday.
'Asia cargo may be flowing more smoothly through U.S. West Coast port terminals than it did this time a year ago, it is still not reaching U.S. importers and retailers in a timely manner,' the TSA said.
Transpacific carriers are experiencing the heaviest volumes of the current peak season, the TSA noted.
Ocean carriers have responded to the Asian cargo demand by deploying ships and equipment, 'but they don't manage the entire chain, and that ultimately affects their network capacity,' said Albert A. Pierce, executive director of TSA.
'Arriving containers continue to back up at shoreside terminals or remote storage facilities, often accruing per diem charges while waiting to be loaded onto inland-bound trains,' the TSA noted.
Port and inland terminals 'have reduced free-time allowances and increased detention charges for containers and equipment left idle in their yards,' the association reported.
'While that makes sense as a strategy for them, it has left shipping lines scrambling to arrange more costly truck transport amid truck and driver shortages,' the TSA said.
Because of a narrow gap between demand and the carriers' effective capacity predicted for 2006, TSA sad, 'additional container slots entering the market' will have 'relatively little impact on throughput capacity.'
TSA members are APL, CMA CGM, COSCO Container Lines, Evergreen Marine Corp., Hanjin Shipping Co., Hapag Lloyd Container Linie, Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., 'K' Line, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, NYK, Orient Overseas Container Line, and Yangming Marine Transport.