The G6 carriers have been hit hardest by the port congestion at the San Pedro Bay ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, with delays to vessel berthing compounded by a lack of truck drivers and available container chassis, Alphaliner has reported.
Hapag-Lloyd sent a recent customer advisory stating that congestion has reached “a critical point” while APL blamed the congestion for the increased costs which dragged down its Q3 results.
The G6 carriers have been worst hit because of their multiple terminal calls at the southern California ports. As a result they have had the largest number of vessels waiting at anchor in recent weeks
The G6 operate 13 services to the Pacific South West, calling at seven different terminals in the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex. Five out of the six members operate their own terminals in the complex, with Hapag-Lloyd being the only member that does not have dedicated facilities at the port.
Box traffic at the San Pedro Bay ports has surged this year, reaching the highest levels since the pre-recession peak in 2006. While good news for the ports, the growth has worsened congestion for the pair, which struggle to handle the 14,000 teu vessels now deployed on the Far East-US West Coast routes.
With labour contract negotiations between West Coast dockworkers and their employers becoming increasingly fractious, the problem shows little sign of abating.
This week the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) publicly accused the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) of “orchestrated slowdowns” at Tacoma and Seattle in the Pacific Northwest. The PMA says that this breaches a prior agreement to maintain normal operations during contract negotiations.
The ILWU contract expired on 1 July, and months of backroom wrangling has followed.