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Hapag-Lloyd updates delays at North American ports

A Hapag-Lloyd ‘Operational Update’ reported on delays unloading its containers for customers at a number of North American ports published on November 4th, 2021

Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach: Ships waiting 13 days for a berth

“The Southern California Marine Exchange has requested vessel operators to remain up to 150 miles off shore for safety concerns in the anchorage areas. Safety concerns are now paramount as we move into winter months with high winds … Ships are waiting average 13 days to catch a berth.”

Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach continue to be hampered by delays with import rail dwell times up to 13 days.

“Port of Long Beach did test a 24/7 gate model, but was not successful to implement a full program. Gates are still running as published and in line with Pier Pass program. Imports wait for an average of 6.7 days for a truck to pick up, and street dwells are up to 9 days on average. Import rail dwell is up to 13 days in the terminal complex. Chassis pool of pools utilization is almost at 90%. All terminals remain extremely congested and limiting the windows for export cargo acceptance depending their specific situation.” Noel Hacegaba, deputy executive director, Port of Long Beach told AJOT In response to the Hapag report.

“The Port of Long Beach has taken several bold actions to help the supply chain through this historic cargo surge. We started in the fall of 2020 by activating vacant land at Pier S. The STOR (Short-Term Overflow Resource) operation has grown to 65 acres and can store up to 14,000 inbound, outbound and empty containers to provide immediate relief to our terminals.

The second action we took was to expand our hours of operation. We started with a pilot project with TTI (Total Terminals International) five weeks ago, which continues to open 24 hours a day, four days a week.

Today, all of our container terminals are flexing their gate hours and some are also opening on weekends. The third action was taken two weeks ago when we announced a new surcharge on all long-dwelling inbound containers. This fee is already meeting its objective. As of November 7, the number of aging containers targeted by this fee (9+ days for local delivery and 6+ days for intermodal) is down -26% in Long Beach terminals.

On parallel track, we are working with our ocean carriers to evacuate empty containers, which we estimate account for approximately 30% of all containers sitting on our terminals today. We expect to see more empty sweepers (sweeper vessels arriving to pick up empty containers) in the weeks ahead to help reposition these empty containers to Asia with a greater frequency and in greater numbers.”

New York

“High berth utilization and congestion continues at all terminals. During week 43 (October 23rd) there was a high of 1 vessel reported at anchorage awaiting a berth. Empty stock levels continue to rise at all depots / terminals. All options for reducing empty surplus are being explored. Maher Terminals, APM, and PNCT are offering a Saturday gate this week to facilitate increased import deliveries.”

Savannah Terminal

“There are currently 26 ships at anchor as of October 29th. The terminal capacity is at about 95% utilization. Ships are delayed up to 8 days average awaiting berth assignment. The new first come - first serve started Aug 28th is making no difference thus far. Berth congestion continues with minimum 26 ships at anchor this week (30 both Wed & Thurs).”

Seattle Terminal

“There are currently 16 ships at anchor awaiting berth as of Oct 29th. Terminals are operating at 85% utilization. Berthing delays in Seattle are up to three weeks at this time due to heavy volumes.”

Houston Terminals

“Container dwell times are on the rise which exacerbates terminal capacity issues…The rail yard is 40% utilized. Trial shipments utilizing the Barbours Cut on-dock rail service has launched with a BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) product. Hapag-Lloyd was able to load out containers to Dallas on this service. Terminal is experiencing critical equipment shortages for chassis, gensets and reefer plugs. Reefers are dwelling from inability to pick up for various reasons, including chassis and gensets.”

Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Canada

“Schedule adjustments are required to avoid anchoring and berth conflict. Yard utilization is presently at 95% due to high volumes. Operations were shut down on Oct 25th due to severe weather, further impacting productivity. Rail: Due to reduced rail velocity as a result of delayed vessels and bad weather which shut down the yard earlier in the week, daily rail production has been reduced to 30000 feet per day, a reduction of 33% from the regular target Rail dwells are presently at 7.1 Days.”

The Hapag report also provided the following rail dwell times for its containers at various destinations”

Railway Operations

Port / Terminal Avgerage Dwell Time
New York, NY 7.9 days*,
MMR Rail New York 3.9 days,
Long Beach, CA 12.5 days,
Los Angeles, CA 12.2 days*,
Charleston, SC 11.7 days*,
Savannah, GA 6.7 days*,
Norfolk, VA 10.4 days*,
Kansas City, MO 8.4 days*,
Chicago, IL 10.5 days*,
Memphis, TN 7.4 days*,
Detroit, MI 11.2 days*,
Dallas, TX 10.5 days*,
Houston, TX 10.7 days*

*Status has changed from the previous report

Chassis Pools

The report noted “With the recent unprecedented Import volumes, there is currently a historically high demand for chassis throughout the USA. This demand has shown to be persistent on 40 ft chassis and intermittent on 20 ft chassis. In order to minimize any negative impact on supply chains, customers are asked to take immediate steps to reduce container and chassis off terminal dwell time. This includes all inland terminals as well as port terminals. Without a significant reduction in the dwell times, truckers may face serious challenges and delays in securing good order chassis as long as this surge in imports continues.”

Stas Margaronis
Stas Margaronis


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