ITS Logistics today released the June forecast for the ITS Logistics US Port/Rail Ramp Freight Index. This month the index reveals ‘severe’ conditions in the Pacific Port and both West and East Inland Rail Ramp regions due to the continued tensions from ILWU and PMA negotiations. In addition, ITS forecasts that the labor strife will impact IPI freight interlining and urges shippers to hire additional trucking providers.
“The previous months of increased volumes at the ports has provided ILWU leverage to affect operations at the terminals in order to forward their demands in talks with the PMA,” said Paul Brashier, Vice President of Drayage and Intermodal for ITS Logistics. “The Pacific Ocean Region and West and East Rail Regions have been moved to Severe due to the breakdown of the current negotiations. This is also due to the subsequent shutdowns at a myriad of terminals up and down the western seaboard.”
Earlier this month, West Coast ports experienced multiple closures that began at the Port of Oakland. Union workers along the ports refused to report for assignments. Both slowdowns and shift closures were soon to follow. ITS Logistics also experienced the backlash of these actions, resulting in their truckers being turned away by the terminal operator for Marine Services at the Port of Los Angeles. Thanks to the updates provided by ITS drivers and their visibility software applications, ITS was able to navigate through the port challenges.
“While issues at the ocean terminals were a direct result of port shutdowns, the IPI freight interlining from those terminals to rail for destinations further inland was also impacted,” continued Brashier. “Currently there is no concrete resolution in sight, there is a lack of reliable communication from either party and with ILWU’s current actions, shippers should stay vigilant and close to the situation on the West Coast as the matter remains extremely fluid.”
Several supply chain groups including American Trucking Association and the National Retail Federation have urged the Biden Administration to become actively involved in the current negotiations. As the supply chain industry has navigated consistent challenges over the past years, the current negotiations are creating severe delays and disruptions that are complicating port operations across the West Coast.
“The Gulf and East Ocean regions continue to run smoothly and are using this time to increase infrastructure enhancements that will aid their operations when increased volumes pivot back to their terminals,” continued Brashier. “Both Houston and GPA have announced rail service and infrastructure enhancements that will push cargo out of the terminals further inland to lessen congestion.”
Moving forward, ITS Logistics urges shippers to prioritize bringing on more trucking providers into their network to improve optimization and lessen detention and demurrage impacts. Both congestion and a backlog of containers at the terminals on the West Coast will lessen the amount of turns drivers can do in a day, or the number of containers a driver can pull. Increasing the amount of trucks on the road will help in softening the impact that this may have on shippers in the industry.
ITS Logistics offers a full suite of network transportation solutions across North America and omnichannel distribution and fulfillment services to 95% of the U.S. population within two days. These services include drayage and intermodal in 22 coastal ports and 30 rail ramps, a full suite of asset and asset-lite transportation solutions, omnichannel distribution and fulfillment, and outbound small parcel.
The ITS Logistics US Port/Rail Ramp Freight Index forecasts port container and dray operations for the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf regions. Ocean and domestic container rail ramp operations are also highlighted in the index for both the West Inland and East Inland regions. Visit here for a full comprehensive copy of the index with expected forecasts for the US port and rail ramps.https://web.its4logistics.com/monthly-freight-index