BRi USA NEWS LA–LB Ports Taking Steps to Reduce Congestion


Dear all Valued Customers


Both Los Angeles and Long Beach ports announced new initiatives this week in an effort to provide relief for mounting congestion problems caused by the import surge. Long Beach opened near-dock storage and Los Angeles announced a mix of financial incentives for those stakeholders promoting port efficiency.


Long Beach announced the opening of Pier S overflow space last week to provide more container storage with the hopes of reducing congestion at its terminals. Port deputy executive director of administration and operations Noel Hacegaba said “1,400 import, export and empty containers were stored at the site as soon as it opened to free up space at marine terminals.”


Beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) and terminal operators are working together to group containers into peel-off piles. In this structure, containers belonging to BCOs and trucking companies are pre-positioned in separate stacks in the marine terminal after discharge from the vessel. The designated trucker takes delivery from the grouped containers on a last-in, first-out basis –“peeling” the containers off from the top of the stack. Most of the trips so far have been dual transactions, where truckers arrive at the terminal with a loaded export container and pick up a loaded import container - doubling their productivity.


The Port of Los Angeles is rolling out a financial incentive program for ocean carriers that provide advance shipment notifications (ASNs) to BCOs, truckers and intermodal equipment providers (IEPs). This allows these port stakeholders to plan their equipment needs in advance of vessel arrival. The port also plans to offer financial incentives to the terminal operators who are able to increase dual transactions as well as reduce trucker turn times.


Launched last month, Los Angeles has also added Signal to its Port Optimizer platform that publishes anticipated import volume for the upcoming weeks, another enhancement allowing stakeholders to anticipate their equipment needs. Port stakeholders (carriers, terminals, truckers, railroads and IEPs) would each have to update their data daily in the portal. However, armed with real-time conditions and ASNs, truckers should be able to make appointments and plan for dual transactions, improving fluidity and decreasing congestion at the port.


Major North American Ports Status Update


Below is a general overview of the operations BRi USA has been able to gather for most major ports. This list will be updated as information is made available.


United States


Port of Seattle and Tacoma – Last month the Northwest Seaport Alliance had its best month of 2020 and the highest monthly containerized volume since October 2019. However, imports were down 6.8% year over year. All terminals at the ports are open and operational this week.


Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach – With the operating environment deteriorating in recent weeks, the Ports of LA/LB are moving to provide immediate relief from mounting congestion problems, with Long Beach opening Pier S as a near-dock site for container dray-offs and Los Angeles offering a mix of financial incentives to ocean carriers and truckers designed to promote efficiency. All terminals are open for normal operations this week.


Port of Oakland – Oakland reported 109.4 million pounds of cargo moved through the airport in September 2020, an increase of 11.3% over September 2019. All terminals are open for normal operations this week.


Port of Houston – Port Houston said that in September it saw the “first turn toward growth” since coronavirus-caused volume blows began in March. The port handled 1% more TEUs in September 2020 than September 2019. From Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, Port Houston moved just 3% less TEUs than it moved during the first nine months of 2019. All terminals are open for normal operations this week.


Port of New York/New Jersey – Maintaining cargo supply chain fluidity remains a primary objective for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Port partners are taking proactive steps to add more resources and service hours to support this untraditional peak cargo volume season. Currently, projections indicate that container volume will remain strong for the rest of the year. The ports of NY/NJ are open this week for normal operations and gate hours.


Port of Virginia - The Port of Virginia revealed plans to reconfigure and double the size of its on-dock rail yard to expand rail capacity at Norfolk International Terminals, therefore increasing its throughput by 400,000 containers. The move to double its rail yard size aims to meet the growing demand and forecasts for future intermodal volume. All terminals are open and operational this week.


North Carolina Ports - The North Carolina State Ports Authority set a record this week by welcoming the largest container ship to date to call the Port of Wilmington. The Yang Ming Warranty sailed into Wilmington with a carrying capacity of 14,220 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) and is the largest class vessel calling on the United States East Coast. All terminals are open and operational this week.


South Carolina Ports - SC Ports received two new ship-to-shore cranes this week, marking the first cargo-handling equipment to arrive for the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal. When the terminal opens in March, it will be outfitted with some of the tallest cranes on the East Coast. The cranes will have 169 feet of lift height above the wharf deck and an outreach of 228 feet, enabling them to work the biggest container ships calling on the East Coast. SC Ports in Charleston, Greer and Dillon are operating normally for gates and vessels at this time.


Port of New Orleans - Port of New Orleans cargo operations and administration building are closed today, Oct. 28, 2020, as they continue to monitor and prepare for potential impacts of Hurricane Zeta.




Port of Prince Rupert - The Port continues to experience berth congestion.  Vessel wait times are 9-10 days this week. Vessel backlog likely remains into November but drops to 7 day waiting time. Yard capacity remains at 100%, and rail dwell is 5 days. All terminals are open and operational this week.


Port of Vancouver - Vessel wait time remains at 11-12 days this week. Vessel backlog likely remains into November but drops to 7 day waiting time. Yard capacity is at 78%, and rail dwell is 4-6 days. All terminals are open and operational this week. 


Ports Closing Ahead of Hurricane Zeta


Hurricane Zeta is closing in on the Gulf Coast. Zeta will make landfall near Grand Isle, Louisiana, Wednesday afternoon or early evening, likely as a Category 1 storm. The impact zone will stretch from southeastern Louisiana, including the New Orleans metropolitan area, eastward to Gulfport, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; and Pensacola, Florida.


The following ports are listed under port condition Zulu according to the US Coast Guard, severely limiting vessel movement within and around these ports and impacting ship-to-shore operations:


•          Baton Rouge

•          New Orleans

•          Plaquemines

•          South Louisiana

•          St. Bernard

•          Venice Port Complex


Under the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, the captain of the port (COTP) at each location may close portions of the port in response to any changes in Zeta’s forecast track and/or intensity.


Heavy rainfall and 5 to 10 feet of storm surge will cause flash flooding in coastal areas of the impact zone, as well as some inland areas. Power outages are likely as winds knock down trees and utility lines. Drivers who don’t avoid the region will probably run into delays on the Interstate 10 corridor, in addition to several U.S. and state highways.


The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued hurricane warnings and storm surge warnings across the expected impact zone.


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As a valued customer, we hope that you will continue to trust us to source the best options for your supply chain needs now and into the future. Should you have any questions regarding USA News, please contact your Customer Solutions Representative. 


Keeping you updated,

BRI Customer Solutions Team

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