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  • Writer's pictureJoseph O'Donnell

Chassis shortages and vessel delays surge on the west coast due to peak season and COVID-19

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

The surge of imports from Asia in response to peak season and six months of backlogs caused by COVID-19 have caused major chassis shortages and vessel delays in west coast U.S. ports.

Container/port terminals, warehouses and truckers in the west coast are working at full capacity while short on labor, which has set record high levels of congestion in the region.

Consequently, the number of appointments to deliver containers to the port have become extremely limited. Thus, many full and empty containers are being stored in container yards along with their chassis while truckers wait to receive appointments from the port.

This has lead to a significant shortage in chassis and other equipment that are essential for loading and transporting containers.

Many shipments are currently facing up to 14 day delays as shippers wait to receive empty containers to load at their facilities. Additionally, shippers are now facing storage fees and increased chassis costs while their containers sit idly waiting to be delivered to the port.

However, finding chassis and obtaining appointments from the ports are not the only set backs.

The ports of Seattle, Tacoma, Oakland and Los Angeles - Long Beach are all short on labor in response to COVID-19.

Thus, vessels are taking longer to load and offload at the ports in order to continue on their routings, causing vessels to arrive at neighboring ports 7 to 14 days later than originally scheduled.

These combined factors are causing severe delays for U.S. shipments, some being delayed in excess of a month.

It is recommended if possible that shippers and buyers source their materials from other locations within the U.S. to try and avoid shipping out of the west coast entirely.

Historically the peak season ends in late October. However, shortages and delays in the west cost could easily last until mid to late November due to the abnormally high congestion levels induced by the pandemic.

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