Better data on port terminal dwell times could be used by box lines to pressure terminals into making their gates more efficient, according to US importers.
The suggestion was revealed in a US Federal Maritime Commission staff report on US container port congestion, released on 14 July.
The report summarised discussions held among port and container supply chain participants at forums held at major American container gateways in 2014. The forums discussed solutions to port congestion, including those involving equipment availability, port drayage, and terminal gate hours.
One importer representative asserted in the report that marine terminals “are not rewarded by ocean carriers for handling yard and gate operations expeditiously and, in the absence of any established set of metrics by which to measure or assess gate efficiency, beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) are not able to hold their ocean carriers accountable for improvements in terminal turn-time and gate queues.”
Such information could be used by BCOs to convince ocean carriers to value efficient container yard and gate operations, which the carriers could then use to pressure terminal operators into investing in faster gate operations, importers argued.
According to the representative, box importers currently “have no alternative but to absorb the cost of inefficient container yard and gate operations”.
The FMC cited a recent Drewry report suggesting that delays in vessel turnaround times at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in 4Q14 cost ocean carriers USD150 million, or USD600 million on an annualized basis.