Congestion Trends Continue, PortPro Solutions to Help
The pitch for the industry to adopt better tools remains strong. Look no further than the plethora of headlines on JOC, Freight Waves, & Transport Topics - empty return hurdles, new appointment requirements, container dwell and demurrage charges, per diem highs, equipment shortages, and capacity continue to dominate the spectrum of conversation. Like our last two blog posts, we could keep hammering away about how technology, integrated systems, and collaboration could help derive solutions, but I think our time is better spent bringing some common overlapping issues to light. Make no mistake - PortPro is working on a number of solutions designed to tackle these exact problems, but selling is not something we’re having a hard time with. In fact, some of these problems push the industry right to our backyard. However, we realize we need to evolve and adapt with the industry as much as helping it do so as a leader. As such, some highlights below as food for thought.
Appointment requirements have been in place for years in the San Pedro Bay Port Complex, but are relatively new in other parts of the country. According to JOC, appointment implementation in the Ports of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ) is creating some headaches for drayage carriers in the area. More or less, it’s the same story heard across the country for thousands of drayage carriers. For starters, there are too many empty containers and not enough chassis. Combine this with a lack of integrated TMS-to-appointment solutions that don’t allow for swapping, smooth cancellations, and are metered; and the result is high per diem bills that could sink anyone’s top line. In addition to this - especially out here in LA/LB - Ocean Carriers have a bad habit of shutting out empty returns, sometimes even if an appointment is booked to return it. The terminals - to their credit - will do their best to honor that appointment and take the empty. Often, though, they’ll require a dual transaction as part of the deal.
Terminals, in this case, though, are not to blame. They too are over capacity because the ocean carriers either aren’t doing enough to get empties back to our trading partners or they too are overbooked and overworked. As an example, PANYNJ is implementing a dwell fee to target empties in the hopes they’ll be pulled off the dock by ocean carriers. I’d be yelling into the wind if I didn’t mention that the ocean carriers often pass on that cost to others, but they too cannot be solely to blame.
The problem, as we covered throughout the first few short posts in this blog, is the entire infrastructure of the supply chain and the disparate systems that run them (or lack thereof). Consumer demand is at record levels, import container volumes are the same. Drayage carriers, ocean carriers, terminals, rail yards, warehouses, etc. are all at capacity. Everyone is working hard to solve the problem. What’s the solution then? To us here at PortPro, it’s relatively simple - derive capacity and throughput with technology & collaboration. Optimization alongside integrations. Track & Trace tools innate within a TMS. Integrations and pre-arrival information for planning purposes. The list goes on and on, but the point can’t be more clear: use what we have at hand today and work collaboratively on new and emerging technologies to transform the industry with increased efficiency. Wait a minute - I said I wasn't going to hammer away about technology being a solution…. Oh well.
Check us out or schedule a meeting to explore some partnership opportunities at portpro.io.
-Walker Banks, VP of Strategy & Business Development