Seattle and Tacoma port authorities said Wednesday it’s “all hands on deck” as they work to address cargo ship congestion in Puget Sound.
“We are seeing unprecedented times in the global supply chain,” said John Wolfe, CEO of The Northwest Seaport Alliance, which oversees container traffic for both the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma.
Wolfe said there were currently about 15 cargo vessels still awaiting berth at the ports, including storage containers in NY. In ordinary times, a port spokesperson said, there typically aren’t any cargo vessels at anchor in Puget Sound, and they can go directly to dock at the container terminals.
But the local ports are not turning to the kind of round-the-clock, all-week operation that President Joe Biden announced the Port of Los Angeles would move to. Wolfe said NWSA was “looking at” expanded gate hours at the ports’ container terminals, but “that alone is not going to fix this problem.”
While terminal hours are one part of the equation, Wolfe said trucks moving containers from terminals to warehouses are also in short supply, and warehouses are already full, leaving little room to store new incoming containers.
“When any portion of the supply chain starts to be stretched to the limits, it’s like a domino effect,” said Wolfe, at a video news conference Wednesday afternoon after Biden’s speech. “When one domino falls … the other pieces of the supply chain then start to fail, and that’s what we’re experiencing.”
NWSA said it has already started taking measures to address the crunch. While shipping terminals in Seattle and Tacoma are usually open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., terminal operators have been adding some extra night shifts between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m., and some terminals have offered Saturday operations. Until now, those extended hours have been sporadic. NWSA said they would like to see those extended hours become more standardized, but that will rely on discussions with terminal operators who make the final the decision.
Wolfe also said the ports have begun accepting empty shipping container returns so truck drivers can quickly pick up full containers and be on their way. And he said the ports are working with importers who are slow to pick up their shipping containers at terminals, to address the root causes for their delay.
Eric Wright, vice president at the Washington Trucking Association, said in an interview there are plenty of truck drivers to satisfy port operations, but the more significant issue is a shortage of chassis — the trailers that trucks use to carry containers. When trucks drop off containers on chassis at warehouses, he said, there are often delays in unloading the containers and freeing up those chassis to return to the port for another round of pickups.
Having so many ships awaiting berth could become a safety concern as weather gets worse and wind speeds rise, said Fred Felleman, president of the Port of Seattle Commission. The port “could see vessels loitering offshore, which is a safety concern.”
The congestion has been a result of surging consumer demand in North America. And with the holiday rush coming up, Felleman said, “it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
(c)2021 The Seattle Times
Visit The Seattle Times at www.seattletimes.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.
If Biden is peddling a fix for anything, it will end up more broken than it was before.
All according to their plan to RUIN this nation.
“The congestion has been a result of surging consumer demand in North America. And with the holiday rush coming up, Felleman said, “it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
A gross simplification of a host of causes…almost all preventable.
Anyone who takes a suggestion from Joe Biden is a fool.
Does Joe not understand we have a million man military and Navy with ports that can be used for unloading, and about 78 years experieince of moving goods and materials by ship on to shore like on D-Day in WWII. Thanks to the great Biden Afghanistan Skeedaddle there is plenty of militarty manpower on the payroll doing nothing, just like the people he now pays to stay home causing our current shipping backlogs. The problem is that much of the trucks and moving equipment are now in the hands of the Afghan enemy. You think that Joe and his clan of social incompetants can’t screw up things any worse than they are,,,,then surprise, they take us to new heights of social failure. Joe is the American Hunchback of Voter Blame. Next time don’t vote for the guy in the basement whose brain is out to lunch with your own lunches soon out of the now empty shelves.
WHY should the military, YET AGAIN, be saddled with doing something like this????
The entire supply chain problem is due to new Calfornia emissions laws effective in 2020. Only about half of union trucking company trucks, and nearly 0% of private company owned trucks, meet those standards and are not legal to operate in the state of California.
This has nothing to do with Covid, to worker shortages, or to President Trump, but everything to do with liberal stupidities and the lies from the WH, Biden, and the propaganda arm of the DNC hoping no one will realize what is actually causing the disaster.
It really is going to get worse before it gets better because the 24/7 ‘fix’ that Biden was crowing about yesterday can’t be implemented overnight. Supply chain CEOs are saying it will be after Christmas before they can get all the pieces of that up and running.
Merry Christmas, kiddos. Thanks to Scrooge Biden you won’t even get coal in your stocking.
Due to the 2020 California emissions law making it illegal for nearly 50% (or more) of the country’s truckers to operate in that failed state, it makes no difference how many containers are unloaded from the ships – they will simply pile up and bottleneck the port, because there are so few trucks eligible (according to California law) to pick them up.
Biden hopes that you are too stupid to know any of this, and that you believe he is actually trying to fix the problem that liberals deliberately created.
I will probably be suspended for stating the facts.
AND it matters NOT if the ports open up.. IF THE WAREHOUSES that the ports ship to, and the TRUCKERS WHO DO THE SHIPPING are not there…..
Sorry! That coal is going to China!
Exact same thing happening on east coast. Have seen pictures of freighters anchored around the Chesapeake Bay bridge so far about 60 and 99 anchored at Port of Baltimore, all waiting for someone anyone to unload them. pinocchio joe just keeps thinking they are lined up for a boat parade for him.
Biden has experience driving trucks, let him show us how it’s done!!