The Top 6 Stories in Freight
Here’s what’s happening this week:
- Port bottleneck finger pointing persists at LA-Long Beach
- North American ports fuel the global supply chain backup
- Inbound logistics becoming an organizational priority
- Sustained consumer demand is causing headaches
- Spot and rejection rates increase for U.S. east-west loads
- Ports of LA-Long Beach expand operating hours
The hottest stories in freight can be found here, in the Weekly Freight Report:
1. Port bottleneck finger pointing persists at LA-Long Beach
The transportation finger pointing game continues. With carrier congestion at the Port of Long Beach/Los Angeles growing worse by the week, why don’t carriers reschedule or delay shipments in an effort to let the queue shrink? They say if they did, shippers would likely accuse them of collusion, price gouging, or both. While carriers rush to front-load cargo in Asia in anticipation of delays on the other side of the Pacific, a maritime executive says transportation and warehouse capacity remain the real culprits mucking up port congestion. Get an update on the port jam.
2. North American ports fuel the global supply chain backup
Current buckling of transoceanic shipping can’t be seen as an unfortunate, unavoidable result of COVID-19, shifts in consumer spending or labor shortages, says JOC. Instead, it’s the result of North America’s failure to invest and develop its end-to-end container system. Short-term measures like expanding working hours in southern California or dual truck transactions could relieve port backups, but it’s going to take long-term steps like better information sharing among shippers and carriers to avoid supply chain backups. Meanwhile, container dwell times continue to rise.
3. Inbound logistics becoming an organizational priority
Since the pandemic, sourcing and inbound logistics organizations’ top priority has quickly shifted from controlling costs to ensuring uninterrupted supply. A new study shows that 67% of shippers want to quickly and easily switch from one supplier to another, especially when it comes to domestic sources. In support of that goal, developing new supplier partnerships is a priority as well. Check out the full Logistics 2030 report here.
4. Sustained consumer demand is causing headaches
Retailers who have wished for consistently high consumer demand are experiencing the negative side effects of that dream: supply chain congestion, elevated shipping charges that cut into profits, and uncertainty about the inventory they’ve ordered for peak season. How can retailers keep up? Order early, for one thing.
5. Spot and rejection rates increase for U.S. east-west loads
Most U.S. imports arrive from Asia in southern California and are trucked eastward. But there’s not an equal amount of resources or finished goods to move from east coast population centers back west. The result? It’s becoming significantly more expensive to move goods from west to east than in the opposite direction. Get the full details inside of Freightwaves’ Chart of the Week.
6. Ports of LA-Long Beach expand operating hours
With dozens of container ships waiting outside the Los Angeles-Long Beach harbor, the port authority has announced they’ll expand night and weekend truck gate hours in hopes of working through a sustained backlog of inbound cargo. Truckers currently fill only about 30% of available second shift (6 p.m. to 3 a.m.) appointments. With cargo volumes expected to stay high through Q1 2022, the port authorities agree they need bold solutions to ease the backlog.
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