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Even before today’s announcement that the PMA is to close US west coast terminals for four out of the next five days, the port of Oakland yesterday revealed it would take two months to clear the current cargo build-up.
That clear-up time will now significantly worsen, given that scores more container vessels are currently heading for west coast ports on eastbound services out of Asia.
According to data provided to The Loadstar by vesselsvalue.com, there are 38 containerships destined to arrive between today and Monday. The majority (24) are headed for the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex.
Meanwhile, Oakland, hitherto an overflow port for some vessels unable to berth at LA-Long Beach, is scheduled for eight calls by Monday, while to the north, Tacoma and Seattle are expect four and two vessels respectively.
The Loadstar also asked how many of the vessels are over 8,000teu size, given that one of the chief cited causes of the congestion – before the negotiations became so fractious and work slowdowns took effect – was the deployment of larger ships on the transpacific trade, which placed a heavier productivity burden on terminal operators, and their stevedores.
The answer is 15, with six heading to Long Beach, five to Los Angeles, three to Oakland and one to Seattle.
And the press of vessels trying to enter the US ports is having a knock-on effect at Vancouver, Canada’s major Pacific gateway, where congestion is also building, according to a customer advisory from Hapag-Lloyd.
“Further compounding this situation are the diversions of cargo from US discharge ports to Vancouver discharge, very high pre-Chinese New Year import volumes and CP Rail’s decision to implement reduced weekly allocations in an effort to maintain a “fluid pipeline” to/from the United States Mid-West region,” it said.
Problems at CP Rail are likely to be further compounded by a recent strike notice issued to the company by the Teamsters union, which covers around 3,000 engineers and conductors, and said industrial action could begin on 15 February.
However, a series of photographs sent to The Loadstar this week from the ILWU suggest that the congestion is not as bad as claimed, and came with the following comment from ILWU president Bob McEllrath: “PMA is leaving ships at sea and claiming there’s no space on the docks, but there are acres of asphalt just waiting for the containers on those ships, and hundreds of longshore workers ready to unload them.”
The Loadstar takes no position on this, and being based thousands of miles away has no way of checking its veracity, other than to post a select few below and ask readers who have greater insight – if they are an accurate reflection of the current state of the terminals?
There’s a comment box below.
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Comment on this article
DonFebruary 15, 2015 at 12:40 am
Yes in Tacoma this is true the PMA is the problem
LeniseFebruary 16, 2015 at 9:24 am
Yes the photos you posted are accurate. I work at the ports of Long Beach/Los Angeles and there is more then enough room in the yard for longshoremen to unload the cargo ships. However, PMA & the companies are not ordering enough longshore workers to do the job.
JimFebruary 16, 2015 at 11:11 pm
The first picture is of the industrial district west in Seattle. The second picture is of a driving lane for trucks, which by definition shouldn’t have containers in it.
The other pictures do show small amounts of empty space, though it’s not certain when or where these pictures were taken. Empty space isn’t unexpected since after loading a ship, there will be empty space where the containers came from.
So the pictures are either not about LA, misleading or inconclusive.
JimFebruary 16, 2015 at 11:57 pm
I just found this blog:
Which indicates that the first picture is actually from last year when the terminal was closed for upgrades. According to the seattle times, that project is still ongoing:
So if the ILWU did post that picture as proof of PMA sabotage, they are either lying or incompetent. However, I have not been able to find that picture in any official ILWU statement or on their website. I also have been unable to find it in the wayback machine, although the page caching for that website did not cover the proper time period. Where exactly did you see this picture posted in relation to LA and the ILWU?
Gavin van MarleFebruary 17, 2015 at 10:05 am
The photo was sent to me by the ILWU press department, part of series of around 30 pics that were emailed to me to prove that there is spare capacity at the ports, and that thus the congestion is being fabricated by the PMA… but at the moment I have no way of empirically verifying their verisimilitude.
D RantFebruary 18, 2015 at 5:27 pm
Just look at the EXIF data on each photo ILWU has provided.
MikeFebruary 18, 2015 at 4:29 pm
Jim? Jim McKenna? Pretty desperate here, huh?
I work at LA/LB and there is PLENTY of empty space at terminals to unload ships. Nothing but lies to the American public. How un-American of you.
JasonFebruary 17, 2015 at 12:10 pm
Just for clarification, the second picture is not a driving lane for trucks. It’s an actual decking spot for containers. As you can plainly see there’s a painted grid on the ground where containers are supposed to be. I should know, I was just there. This picture is at LB234 ITS terminal. Right next to the Queen Mary. The third pic is also at LB234. The Fourth and fifth are at TI400 Maersk terminal. I was there a couple weeks ago and it looked just like the picture. Any ?’s
JasonFebruary 17, 2015 at 11:51 am
This is all empirical evidence. I work these docks everyday and witness how it’s become an empty parking lot. If you really want to know how fabricated the PMA’s stories are, email me and I will show a live shot of ANY DOCK U REQUEST… This will show that the union and it’s members are being attacked and lied about!!
JasonFebruary 17, 2015 at 11:53 am
LOCAL 63 ILWU
AnthonyFebruary 18, 2015 at 8:47 pm
I’m interested in whats going on here. I work at a place in Ohio that’s being slowed down right now because of this. Everything i’ve read in the news seems one sided and shady. I think ILWU is getting screwed over and PMA is using the media to turn average people against each other.