Sep 07

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“Leaves of brown they fall to the ground, And it’s here, over there leaves around, Shut the door, dim the lights and relax, What is more, your desire or the facts”

7 minute read
Port of Seattle with Mt. Adams in the background.

1158 words 5 minute read – Let’s do this!

Back to the grind. Schools are back in session. The 4th quarter of 2023 is quickly approaching. I love September – Cooler nights and changing colors, fall is the elite season in my opinion. Even though summer is coming to a close, the industry is still being impacted by the great many “climate crises” of 2023…

The Panama Canal’s drought induced low water problems are causing vessel traffic jams that could last for the next ten months, that’s not a good sign for supply chains — or your holiday shopping. There are 108 vessels at both entrances to the waterway now — 20% fewer than the 135 ships last week.  However, the situation is concerning ahead of the upcoming holiday season. According to the Panama Canal Authority’s latest update, water-saving measures will be in place for the next 10 months. The current drought is unique in its extent and the measures required to conserve water are leading to draft restrictions and reduced transits for ships using the canal. It can range anywhere between $150,000 to over $1 million, depending on the size and capacity of the vessel. But the congestion at the Panama Canal has gotten so bad that a shipper paid millions just to beat the queue, according to a company that uses the waterway. A $2.4 million price tag was the winning bid for an auction held by the canal authorities for vessels to secure slots to sail through the waterway during the week of August 20, according to an anecdote shared by Oystein Kalleklev, the CEO of gas shipping company Avance Gas. There has been a recent uptick in both average and maximum wait times to cross the canal, with several days in the past week exceeding an average of four days, representing a 100% increase compared to the typical two days.  

We are just a week away from the deadline for a new United Auto Workers (UWA) union contract with Detroit’s Big 3 automakers. Contracts between the UAW and automakers ends midnight on September 14th. The union president Shawn Fain says the goal is not to strike if he can get a fair deal for his workers. But he warned that without a deal, the UAW would go on strike. He’s calling for a 46% pay raise, a 32-hour work week with 40 hours of pay, and restoration of traditional pensions for new hires. There’s a lot to pile into negotiations between the two parties and there’s also a lot on the line if workers walk off the line. It would mean shockwaves for the economy with the shutting down of a supply chain and an increase in prices for cars. The UAW alone represents 150,000 employees.   

Import TEU volumes are down 16.6% this week from last. Yeah, not great. Even with Monday being a holiday, some weather impacting vessel arrivals, and China’s Golden week is approaching the end of this month, it still seems like import volumes are floundering as we approach Q4 and what should be peak season. I think we are all scratching our heads and asking “where’s our freight?”

During Golden week, factories close and transport services slow and those that operate are extremely expensive. As workers aren’t available at the docks or ports, operations and management are unsteady. International businesses typically can’t find carriers or exporters from China. All of these factors lead to a pre-holiday rush, resulting in pressure on supply chain networks and delayed shipments.  The rush season begins affecting shippers about 3-4 weeks before the holiday. This means that starting in September, the rise in demand becomes noticeable.  “Pre-holiday rush, where are you?”

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

Port & Rail Updates

LA/LGB: Three-quarters of rank-and-file membership with the ILWU approved a new 6 year labor contract, announced last Thursday. The 6 year contract will expire on July 1, 2028.  Details of the contract have not been formally released but it is speculated that pay will go up 32% and bring dockworkers $70 million in bonuses over the course of the agreement. Post holiday congestion lingering in all terminals, causing excess wait times and appointment shortages. Looking for coverage in the LA/LGB area? We have capacity for all your drayage and transloading needs – contact Jackie and the team at 
Vessels currently in Port LA: 116 Expected Arrivals: 33
Vessels currently in Port LGB: 95  Expected Arrivals: 59

Oakland: Terminals are experiencing longer than normal wait times due to labor shortages.  Wait times can sometimes lead to capacity shortages but never fear – we can cover all your drayage needs in Oakland and if you get your orders in early enough we can offer a “No Demurrage guarantee”
Contact to hear more about our “No Demurrage guarantee” and great rates
Vessels currently in Port: 57  Expected Arrivals: 9

Seattle/Tacoma: The Seattle and Tacoma ports are also seeing congestion this week after the holiday.  We have drayage and transloading openings available well in to September and we want to be your #1 Seattle drayman and warehouse.
Vessels currently in Port Seattle: 380  Expected Arrivals: 24
Vessels currently in Port Tacoma: 50  Expected Arrivals: 15

Denver: We have a pretty cool transload warehouse in Denver and an even cooler team of operations and drivers. We have private chassis and can help move overweight containers out of the UP too! Contact the team at

Did you know? Coast-to-Coast we have you covered via our own drivers and equipment more than ever before! Not only do we provide exceptional service and customer experience, but our technology is the best in the business. We even track the cargo on the water all the way from the origin port into the USA and onto final destination. We expertly execute on all the below service offerings and including the added value of our Turvo platform, our service and our people! 

  • Drayage, transloading, and trucking. We like to say drayage transloading and trucking 2000 miles in just 2 days.
  • Transloading and trucking of open tops, break bulk, and flat racks throughout the USA. We do have contracts with stevedores to help expedite transloading of some of this cargo directly at the port.
  • Local and Regional drayage
  • Long Haul Drayage – for imports or exports that cannot be transloaded
  • Canadian Drayage, transloading, and trucking including services to move in bond and remanifest the bond on your customers behalf.

Contact to experience why we are the best!