Severe Chassis and Labor Shortages Plague LA-Long Beach Port

The chassis and labor shortages in the Los Angeles/Long Beach Ports are causing truckers, and consequently shippers, considerable setbacks at the moment. Trucking companies in the area are facing an uphill battle on two fronts; not only there is a significant labor shortage on working the vessels at the docks, but there is also a major shortage of chassis required to handle the daily cargo volume. Both issues add up to an awful congestion problem at America’s largest port complex.

Consolidators that ship Less-than-Container-Load (LCL) cargo into the LA-LB gateway are now charging a $3 Weight or Measure (W/M) surcharge for congestion because container dwell times have risen so dramatically and steamship lines are refusing to waive demurrage charges caused by these delays. Terminals are now reporting delays of 10 days to get containers moved out of the terminal or onto rail cars for inland points (normal time is about 3 days). Truckers are also reporting that it is taking 4 to 6 hours to retrieve a container from the terminal (normal turnaround time is 1 hour). Standard draymen have announced a similar, per-container congestion surcharge with varying levels.

One contributing factor is that today’s larger vessels arrive with as many as 5,000 to 8,000 containers in need to be unloaded, creating a chain reaction that leads to increased yard congestion and long truck lines. Furthermore, there is a shortage of rail cars in Los Angeles and a lack of terminal space required to build on-terminal rail trains; this requires more containers to be drayed to locations where they can be placed on the rail, putting further pressure on the overuse of chassis at the port. It is also estimated that the LA/LB port area is operating with a 30% reduction in truckers since the Clean Truck Program was initiated.

Please contact your Shapiro representative with any questions or concerns. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and advise you of any important updates.