Jun 08

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“We didn’t start the fire, It was always burning, since the world’s been turning, We didn’t start the fire – No, we didn’t light it, but we tried to fight it…”

9 minute read
Lauren Beers

1790 words 7 minute read – This was a BIG week, so let’s do this!

What the hell is going on out there?

It has been a HUGE week so far, so many other events or should I say drama happening around the West Coast Ports ILWU this week. For real, “What the Hell is  going on out there?” 

While the West Coast ports have reopened after multiple closures, issues such as labor slowdowns and shift closures persist in select terminals from Los Angeles to Seattle. Drivers report experiencing slow turnaround at the terminals, and delays are evident in supply chain data. One terminal operator, Fenix Marine Services, owned by ocean carrier CMA-CGM, turned away truckers at the Port of Los Angeles.

The labor situation at the ports was also posing a threat to intermodal rail service in Southern California. Union Pacific, one of the major railroads servicing the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, temporarily paused its rail shipments at these ports due to ongoing labor issues. This proactive measure aims to alleviate supply chain congestion by allowing shippers to divert their goods to other ports instead of having them sit in containers for extended periods. Congestion will likely continue to build at all West Coast US and Canada ports through the ILWU labor disruptions. We currently have capacity in all areas, but congestion will cause backups and eat up capacity quickly. We urge our customers to take precaution and start to pre plan and hold drayage capacity now as vessels could sit idle at the ports and railways could continue to slow down and even stop if labor disruptions worsen. What is the immediate solution? TRANSLOAD, TRANSLOAD, TRANSLOAD! Lucky for you, the Port X Logistics team are the Transload Pros. To get ahead of the game and stop your customers from saying “what the hell is going on out there?” Contact us at letsgetrolling@portxlogistics.com

Along with the labor disruptions, operations at the Port of Oakland were halted on Wednesday after a worker passed away on the job. The incident involved a longshore worker who was fatally injured while working on a vessel. The exact details of the incident have not yet been disclosed. The port authorities immediately suspended all operations as a safety precaution and to conduct an investigation into the incident. The suspension of operations at the Port of Oakland had a significant impact on the flow of cargo and disrupted the supply chain. Vessels were held offshore, and truckers and workers were asked to stay away from the port. The port authorities have resumed operations,  but our drivers are reporting that there is a backup at Oakland today, lines are out the door and wrapping the streets.

And let’s keep rolling on up the West coast, how do vessel delays at LA, Long Beach and Oakland cause a ripple effect in Seattle and Tacoma?  The Port of Seattle was shut down Wednesday and dock workers were sent home for crane productivity being at about 30% of normal. The Tacoma port terminals were still working even though crane productivity was about 50% of normal, according to a source. The delay in vessel departures from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Wednesday was caused by the refusal of the ILWU to dispatch key workers known as “lashers”. Lashers are responsible for securing containers and cans with metal bars. Lashing is extremely important on board the ship because without the metal bars holding them secured, containers could fall into the ocean during transport. 

At least a half-dozen vessels that were almost completely worked and scheduled to depart from the ports could not leave because the final process step — lashing the top row of containers to secure them on the vessel — could not be performed due to a lack of labor sent from the ILWU hiring hall.

“Five or six vessels are sitting there because there are no lashers,” said one source

“The ships are being worked, but then they’re going to anchor because there are no lashers” a second source said. More information can be found in the below  JOC Article.

Seattle effectively shut, vessel backup builds in LA-LB amid ILWU job actions | Journal of Commerce (joc.com)

The International Longshore & Warehouse Union Canada that represents over 7,000 terminal cargo movers at the Port of Vancouver and Prince Rupert BC has authorized a strike vote. 

Canadian law prevents either side from exercising their right to strike for 21 days after the end of conciliation on May 30, and both sides have agreed not to file a 72 hour strike or lockout notice before June 21st, leaving the earliest possible strike date of June 24th. A vote is set to take place Friday June 9th.

The timing of this potential strike coincides with the ongoing labor disruptions we are seeing at the Oakland and Long Beach Ports in the USA. Combined with the disruptions along the North American Pacific Coast, it has the potential to severely impact the Global Supply Chain.

For reference, the Montreal PQ port strike in 2021 lasted only 5 days. However, it took months to clear out the backlog of containers that sat in rail blocks.

And just like that the industry got hotter than the Canadian wildfires. It is hitting the Northeast states too. My eyes are so red, it’s actually alarming. Our air quality in Buffalo is so bad and even worse in New York City, in fact NYC is experiencing the worst air quality in decades forcing the NY/NJ APM, Maher, PNCT and GCT Bayonne and Columbia operations to close down at 3 PM Wednesday afternoon. It has been a clear morning with no congestion issues as of yet, however there is a possibility of congestion at these terminals for the remainder of this week and into next week, as some shippers within the affected areas have also minimized their operations. APM terminal has limited appointments available today.

New York City and areas in New England could see some improvement in air quality today and Friday, from a predicted pattern showing a shift in winds that will direct the smoke toward southern Ontario, Ohio and Pennsylvania. However, conditions could worsen around Toronto, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Detroit. By the weekend, air quality could decline once again over the mid-Atlantic and New England as winds send smoke farther to the east. A significant shift in the weather pattern is expected by early next week, as a storm may form over the Midwest that would completely shift the winds and force the smoke back to the north and back into Canada.  

“We didn’t start the fire, It was always burning, since the world’s been turning

We didn’t start the fire, But when we are gone

It will still burn on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on…”

Import TEU volumes are up lucky-number 7.77% from last week. Volumes are increasing and so is supply chain volatility in the market. Could the fall/winter season and 4th quarter be a repeat of the LA/LGB ports fall/winter of 2021? Personally, I enjoy that kind of crazy. We kinda live for this at Port X Logistics! 

What’s happening at the ports and rails?:

You can find all the information on the below link where we cover port congestion, chassis issues and capacity lead times weekly at all U.S. and Canada Ports and rail heads



LA/LGB: There are no current port closures, however there is excess wait times occurring as drivers are waiting for cranes during labor shortages. No other imminent signs of disruptions as of this morning. The labor situation at the ports was also posing a threat to intermodal rail service in Southern California. Union Pacific temporarily paused rail service Tuesday at three marine terminals in Los Angeles-Long Beach as a result of freight backing up at UPs inland terminals – to avoid catastrophe in the near future I repeat: TRANSLOAD, TRANSLOAD, TRANSLOAD!

LAX –  Vessels currently at port: 141 Expected Arrivals: 49 LGB – Vessels currently at port: 68 Expected Arrivals: 60

Oakland: The port was closed Wednesday due to a fatal injury at the port.  All terminals are currently open today but moving slow as a result of Wednesday closures, it has been reported by our drivers that lines are out the door and wrapping the streets.  Vessels currently at port: 63 Expected Arrivals: 16

Seattle/Tacoma: The Ports were closed Wednesday due to not enough incoming volume to keep crane operations rolling.  Caused by LA/LGB labor shortages not getting the vessels rolling to Seattle/Tacoma ports.  Some terminals have also halted operations on Fridays, stay tuned for updates if terminals will stay open on Fridays to recoup the back up.

 Seattle – Vessels currently at port: 408 Expected Arrivals: 24  Tacoma – Vessels currently at port: 83 Expected Arrivals: 21

Vancouver/Prince Rupert: An ILWU strike vote is set to take place on Friday June 9th, leaving a potential strike with earliest date of June 24th – For reference of what a potential outcome that a strike could look like in Canada, the Montreal PQ port strike in 2021 lasted only 5 days. However, it took months to clear out the backlog of containers that sat in rail blocks.

Vancouver – Vessels currently at port: 207 Expected Arrivals: 64

Prince Rupert – Vessels Currently at port: 67 Expected Arrivals: 19

New York/New Jersey:  Terminals closed on Wednesday afternoon due to poor air quality – APM terminal is experiencing appointment shortages, but no other congestion has been reported as of this morning.  

Vessels currently at Port: 368 Expected arrivals: 116

Houston: As of this morning, Houston Port terminals have lost network connectivity – The terminal systems, including N4, Lynx, the yard systems and the gate systems are offline. The issue is being reviewed and they are working to get back online.  Bayport is running and Barbours Cut is still down currently  Expect delays and congestion through the remainder of the week. 

Vessels currently at Port: 342 Expected arrivals: 128

Did you know? Port X Logistics Charleston Drayage operations are now in full effect. We have regional drayage capacity and a secured yard for container storage.  Our drivers have credentials in all terminals. Port X Logistics can handle local drayage, regional drayage, and long haul drayage.  We have even gone as far as Missouri out of Charleston with direct drays!  Contact Tyler and Kyle and our southeast operations at SAV@portxlogistics.com 


Lauren Beers