The Port of Los Angeles saw record volumes in the third quarter. The Port of Long Beach was no different, recording a best-ever August moving more than 725,000 FEU’s. With these record volumes and the trade deficit widening in August to its largest margin in fourteen years to a record $82.5 billion, it is little wonder that port congestion in Los Angeles and port congestion in Long Beach are causing headaches for shippers.


Container delays are impacting both cargo terminating and moving inland by intermodal rail. 


What is causing port congestion?


There are multiple factors contributing to port congestion in 2020, all of which begin with COVID and cascade through multiple channels.

  • COVID production delays and severe weather and typhoons have caused delays and hiccups in regular vessel strings that are causing delays of up to three to four weeks for import shipments.
  • When vessels arrive in bunches, the terminals do not have the opportunity to clear the arriving and departing containers while the vessel is berthed and after departure.
  • Because of the congestion, vessels which discharge in 1 – 3 days are taking a minimum of 5 and up to 8 days, impacting their routing and future port calls and rotations.
  • With terminals operating on an appointment system, there aren’t enough appointments for all the containers which need to be moved.
  • The continued chassis shortage means that truckers who reserved a chassis may not have it available at the time of rental meaning they miss their appointment slot.


Export congestion is equally as bad – this at a time when the country needs to get both loaded containers out to balance out the trade deficit and return empties to be loaded with more valuable inbound cargo.


Mach 1 is committed to helping our customers through this challenging environment.


We have long-standing relationships with our carriers and truckers and warehouses in Southern California. Even with these commercial relationships, we are asking our clients to work with us to prioritize their inbound bookings overseas to prioritize inbound recovery of imports upon arrival.


For cargo which has reached a critical urgency, Mach 1 offers an eastbound expedited service where we transload in Southern California and provide dedicated or team full truckload or aircraft charter service to any destination in the United States. Ask your Mach 1 representative for more details.


The news claims that the peak has passed, but until we see signs of a traditional slack season that happens in November and December, Mach 1 will remain focused on helping customers prioritize, recover and keep moving cargo to their final destinations, in the country or overseas. To learn more about how Mach 1 can help you navigate port congestion, call (800) 553-7774 or get a quote by clicking HERE.


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