Both the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles plan to expand their operating hours to help work through the record backlog of containers waiting to be offloaded from two of the nation’s busiest ports.
Only the port of Long Beach stated it is considering moving to 24/7 operation, but that doesn’t tell the full story. Both ports announced late last week that they will expand hours during which trucks can pick up and return containers.
Long Beach “will take the first step towards 24/7 operation,” it said, by “maximizing nighttime operations.” The Port of Los Angeles announced it will expand weekend gate hours.
Directors of both ports called on marine terminal operators to put in place incentives to make sure the new hours of operation are well used. You can see the full statement here.
Industry members welcomed the news, saying it couldn’t have come at a better time given record backlogs at the two ports, which account for anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of US shipping, according to varying reports.
Cerwin Vega/Diamond Audio VP Sales & Marketing Bob Chanthavongsa said, “This announcement could not have come at a better time with the upcoming holiday promotional selling season. He noted, “…Our logistics team will take advantage of every opportunity that is created by the port authorities …”
At present, it takes three to five weeks to receive a container once it hits the port, said BOSS VP Sales Doug Kern. “If they can get it down to an average of two weeks, that would be good. We will be relieved once we see it take effect,” he said, adding, “Going into the 4th quarter, it’s much needed in order to make sure our customers have products…”
Erik Harbour of Powerbass wondered why the ports aren’t already at 24/7 operation. He added, “The issue I have heard also is lack of truckers, and of course COVID within the longshoremen etc…We have been asked to receive containers well after closing and on weekends and of course we say YES, but this requires more man hours to accommodate the after-hour delivery. So with that said, if the longshoremen are ready to unload it, the truckers are ready to truck it all out, and the recipients being willing to accept late night or weekend delivery, then this will help a lot. But if any of those parts aren’t ready for this, it will only create a bottleneck elsewhere in the chain.”
Photo of the Port of Los Angeles by The Maritime Executive