Here are more examples of Non-Operating Owners chartering ships. And they are increasing in price. These carriers are outside the liner alliances, and allow the ships to move as they choose instead of following liner schedules. They can choose routes which avoid the major choke points in container handling we see now.
It’s another way to escape or try to escape the port congestion we see at major ports.
But there are increasingly signs that the congestion is spreading from the major ports such as LA and Long Beach to smaller ones such as Tacoma and even some East Coast US ports.
How do carriers escape the congestion then? At least with their own ships, not assigned to rotations, they can pick and choose. that flexibility may aid in winning contracts to shop goods.
Standards for port call activities could provide a basis for a data exchange system for status, and could also provide motivation for a priority basis for specific containers.
There’s currently no message or signaling system allowing all the supply chain partners to move a given container to know the required speed of service. Partners can’t coordinate unless they know precisely which containers need to be moved when.
The standards for service steps in the port would make it easier to determine when a container was behind schedule and expediting was needed to meet the level of service guaranteed.
Of course, the standards proposed by DCSA need to be tried out by ports, and the system needs to be tweaked based on what they find. But it’s a good start.
Apparently some ships are departing for the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach without notifying US Customs of their estimated arrival. They’re required to do so, but don’t know about the rule. The reason is that many newly chartered ships are sailing, chartered by firms who do not ordinarily manage shipping, or are being handled by forwarders who are new to the practice. They appear to be unaware of the requirements.
When the ship fails to notify the port at departure, and just ‘drops in’, there is no place in the schedule to unload it. The ship must wait offshore. The Maritime Exchange says that essentially all positions for waiting ships off LA and Long Beach are full; drop-ins must steam around until their place in the queue can be found. The waits can be upward of a month.
This operational gap is just one of the reasons for the supply chain logjam. If it’s happening at LA and Long Beach, you can bet it’s happening at other West Coast ports.
We know that queues to unload are lengthening at all the West Coast Ports. Tacoma announced detention surcharges for containers not moved from their yard on time, following the lead of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The other ports are seizing up because of diversions to them from the usual LA and Long Beach stops, especially by chartered vessels, which can choose any route; they do not have fixed routes like the linear alliances.
People have to start addressing the issues that seem small regarding maritime supply chains. Only an across-the-board effort will get things unsnarled soon.