Trucking companies are pushing ocean carriers and port officials to clear a pileup of empty containers at the East Coast’s largest port that has exacerbated chassis constraints and disrupted operations.
NY-NJ marine terminals have been almost constantly offering Saturday gates over the last two years to help move import volumes, but those gates have accounted for only about 5 percent of total truck transactions.
Ocean carriers and marine terminals should be forced to share more accurate container storage data to improve cargo flows at the Port of New York and New Jersey, according to trucking companies serving the facility.
The truckers are seething with disgust over the fees they must pay for holding containers — up to $150 per day per box. The carriers will not release their cargo until invoices are paid. This is ransom, one says.
After a meeting last week at the Port of New York and New Jersey, US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) chairman Daniel Maffei said: “When ocean carriers continue to bring thousands of containers per month to a port and only pick up a fraction of that number, it creates an untenable situation for terminals, importers and exporters, trucking companies, and the port itself.
Last week, both the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) and Bi-State Motor Carriers Association (Bi-State) sent formal correspondence to the Commission raising concerns about equipment availability and demurrage and detention charges. Both groups urged the Commission to suspend demurrage and detention at the Port of New York and New Jersey. In order to see conditions first-hand and acknowledge the importance of the issues, Chairman Maffei and Ms. Marvin travelled to the Port yesterday to meet with stakeholders directly.
Americans buying 30% more goods from overseas has helped create a logistics crisis at ports caused by a labor shortage and practices of ocean carriers that exacerbate the problems.
High import volumes being diverted from the West Coast is putting renewed pressure on marine terminals at the Port of New York and New Jersey and forcing additional limits on intermodal truckers for returning empty containers to the port.
Motor carriers say problems with returning empty containers mean they cannot relieve the congestion of loaded imports at US ports.
While the ships in New York and New Jersey’s Newark port can be unloaded in a timely manner, one of the main problems facing the area is the lack of truck drivers available to move the goods to warehouses and then on to their final destinations.