Has the US West Coast Started Slipping?


US West Coast (USWC) ports have seen a mixed result for TEU throughput in March, 2016 with volumes being extremely different in comparison to the year prior, according to data passed onto PTI by US data specialist Datamyne.

The Port of Los Angeles saw more than 737,000 TEU handled in January-February, 2016, in comparison to more than 508,000 handled a year prior, its throughput for March, 2016 has actually declined by more than 141,000 TEU.

The Port of Long Beach has also seen a decline in March, 2016 with volumes dropping from March of 2015 by more than 87,000 TEU and totalled over 207,000.

Except for the Port of Charleston, all other ports in the top 10 (based on March, 2016 findings) saw volumes dip.

The USWC has recently recovered from a serious bout of congestion, which was caused by a labour dispute in early 2015 that led to the shutdown of more than 25 ports.

Technical Paper: How the US West Coast Cleared Congestion

Although volumes have since increased, with the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach each seeing consecutive months of volume surges, this latest result could be reflective of a more recent phenomenon: mega-ships.

CMA CGM recently delayed plans to send 6 mega-ships to the US West Coast as part of a weekly service.

Should this plan go ahead, more problems could be created for the top US ports and cause higher levels of congestion.

Automation has been considered the most efficient solution for the bigger size of container ships, with TraPac Terminal in the Port of Los Angeles currently the forerunner for implementing efficient automation.

Whitepaper: Automation Fails, but can Win Big

PTI is set to launch its own Terminal Automation & Training Conference in London on June 8, 2016 where it will discuss the elements required for effectively implementing automated practices.

Read more about the conference here

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