120,000 empty containers stranded at the dock!The Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach is considering new plans to reduce empty containers


The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are understood to be in discussions with major container shipping lines about a new plan to incentivize carriers to load more containers than they unload, thereby clearing empty containers from crowded terminals without disrupting exports of fully loaded container cargo.Ports, shipping companies and terminal operators are working on the plan with John Porcari, the Biden administration’s port envoy for boosting port mobility.Congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach reached historic levels during an 18-month surge in cargo traffic.If approved, the so-called over Match plan would replace an earlier proposal by the Port of Los Angeles to impose detention fees on long-held, fully loaded containers.Port of Los Angeles executive Director Gene Seroka said at the Jan. 13 Port Of Los Angeles Board meeting that port staff will consult with stakeholders to get further comments before deciding whether to present the proposal to the board.Noel Hacegaba, deputy executive director and chief operating officer at the Port of Long Beach, said about 120,000 empty containers were stranded at its 12 terminals.Empty containers are now the main cause of congestion at terminals in Long Beach and Los Angeles, as the port has seen fewer long-loaded import containers after it announced steep detention fees for containers in October.Ports have repeatedly delayed charging exorbitant detention fees, citing the successful removal of long-stranded containers.”The number of incoming containers stuck at terminals for nine days or more has fallen by 60 per cent and now accounts for just 10 per cent of terminal container stocks.We hope to build on this progress and turn our attention to empty containers, which currently make up 47 percent of all containers at the Long Beach terminal.That number is about double pre-pandemic levels.”Hacegaba said.Mr Hacegaba said the super-matching scheme would give shippers an incentive to ship more outbound containers per month than inbound, and needed to be done in the least disruptive way for them.Details of the incentive plan are being worked out with port stakeholders.The working group has determined that the scheme for determining how many outbound containers a ship must pick up cannot be applied to each docking.Many ships enter ports already full of imports, so it is mathematically impossible to carry more than 100 per cent of their capacity.Mr Hacegaba said the scheme would be based on the total number of containers brought in and out of the port per carrier per month, rather than on a per-terminal basis.The carrier calls at multiple terminals in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach under its ship-sharing alliance.Equally important, Hacegaba said, is that ports must be careful not to give carriers a preference for returning empty containers over full export containers.For the past year, U.S. exporters have expressed concern that carriers could reject lower-paid exports and instead ship empty containers back to Asia to refill more high-paying imported consumer goods.Empty containers continue to take up space at the port of Long Beach, Los Angeles, even though Trans-Pacific Lines has deployed a number of single-trip sweepers since last fall to carry empty containers back to Asia.The president of Yusen Terminals in Los Angeles, Alan McCorkle, says the sweepers are having an impact and liquidity at the port is much better now.Mr McCorkle added that in recent months some new services deployed by companies that had never operated across the Pacific were receiving empty containers from other companies that had a surplus of empty containers.”They sell the empty containers to other shipping companies that call here so they can make space.”McCorkle said.Port # #

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