West Coast Ports Slowdown: the Aftermath

Over the past several months, a combination of infrastructure and labor issues has exacerbated congestion at ports up and down the West Coast of the U.S. The problems, which began in late summer 2014, initially stemmed from a shortage of truck drivers and the chassis equipment used to haul containers to and from Los Angeles’ shipping terminals.

Adding to the troubles were record import volumes entering West Coast ports and an increase of massive container ships that were deluging the docks with cargo. This combination pushed the limits of the terminals’ capacity to work ships in a reasonable time. As a result, vessels began to stack up outside the harbors, incurring escalating bunker fees while valuable merchandise sat idle. By the time the holiday shopping season rolled around last year, there was still no resolution.