Over the last few months, Ports in the U.S have reached record import volumes. The ports of California in particular have seen an unprecedented amount of congestion due to the number of imports. While this started around September of 2020, it may continue through February of this year. The reason for this overcrowding traces back to various of different causes that directly relate with each other.
Coronavirus – The effect of COVID-19 was felt on separate parts of supply chains globally, including the arrival of goods to their designated ports. The port facilities have seen a decrease in the number of workers available due to the virus and with the large quantity of imports, the delivery and pick-up time is prolonged.
E-Commerce – A direct effect of the coronavirus is that instead of going directly to the merchandise store to pick up goods, people realize that it is safer to shop at their own homes. This in turn may lead to goods being bought online and imported from different countries. In California’s case, many goods that customers bought were imported from China. This in turn created a buildup at the ports.
Equipment Shortages – Lately, there has been a decline in the amount of chassis available for truckers, likely due to the economic downturn in 2020. A chassis is the frame of an automotive vehicle where the body is attached to. Trucks use the chassis to load containers and drive them to warehouse.
Trucker Shortages – Over the past few years the amount of truck drivers on the highways has gone down. The recent Covid-19 pandemic also impacted this situation because with the increase of freight being imported, the number of truckers is not enough to keep up with the load. This leads to the piling up of containers at the port which may create certain surcharges on your freight.
Demurrage and Detention – When a container stays in a port after a certain period of time without being picked up, demurrage fees can be occurred. This may also lead to detention charges, which is the use of equipment such as containers and chassis for an extended period of time.
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