Creeping Container Congestion Continues

By Rosemary Weber :: August 6, 2021

Delays on the US west coast have ground containers to a halt as record imports arrive on our shores. After digging itself out of a deep backlog of ships waiting at anchor earlier in the year, the Port of Los Angeles is once again staring at 30 anchored ships in the San Pedro Bay. The domino effect are full terminals, off dock warehousing is beyond capacity, while the rail struggles daily with capacity reductions, equipment shortages resulting in an impossible situation.

The disruption is so severe that railroads in the midwest are either embargoing containers to catch up or adding storage stacks to give more time for loading once deramped. Carriers, chassis, boxes, and even pallets are in short supply as more and more find themselves unprepared for the delays from all sides. Even forwarders have to order supplies and those supplies can get trapped in a container waiting for a driver, so the pain is spread very equally across all facets. 

If there is an option to keep cargo moving, we’re seizing it on behalf of our customers. We can always look into alternative routing or splitting shipments to make sure inventory reaches the destination in time while ocean cargo moves slower. The caveat now is that so much advance notice is needed to make alterations, it’s not the time to start rearranging your supply chain if it isn’t absolutely necessary. The ports experiencing the most congestion in the US are those which are the largest, most advanced ports in the nation. They’re delayed but that’s a part of their operating model, to clear backlogs and bottlenecks better than smaller ports that aren’t accustomed to being overburdened. 

The key to weathering this disruption is to make a clear plan for your cargo, understand the equipment needs and options available and make the most of CFI’s cutting edge technology and equipment to ensure temperature excursions are minimal if at all. CFI is fortunate to have warehouses of our own to avoid searching for space. Our refrigerated ground transportation network is our defense against driver shortages. By building our infrastructure to provide the best perishables service in the industry, we’re uniquely ready to face this challenge dead on and continue serving our customers no matter what congestion throws at us. 

If you’d like to discuss how CFI can help you plan for your perishable cargo or mitigate your ocean container issues, reach out to your representative today. We have solutions for the most complex problems and we’re here to help you get back on track.