Inefficiencies at the root of container issues

Inefficiencies are at the root of the container shortages and delays in the US market. According to a study by the JOC, neither more money nor more equipment will solve the bottlenecks causing delays with container shipping in the US. As truck and intermodal rates continue to rise, the delays caused by extreme bottlenecks at terminals, rail yards and distribution warehouses are causing extensive downtime for drivers, resulting in a shortage of drivers. The JOC Inland Distribution Conference is careful to point out it’s not a lack of drivers, but an inefficient use of service hours for the drivers that are available.

These inefficiencies are causing a chain reaction that slows down the entire supply chain and exposes weaknesses in the shipping processes. As container imports and intermodal traffic are up almost 5% over 2017 with no sign of slowing down, these issues will become more and more apparent as more of our cargo bunches up at ports due to a massive increase in cargo capacity among these mega ships. One clear point made by this conference is that it’s not a shortage of boxes, drivers, chassis’, or manpower but instead the delays are more akin to a stress fracture; the increased traffic across supply chains cannot be sustained by the slapdash distribution services we were once able to cobble together.

 “We will give up a bad customer for a good driver any day of the week,” said Mike Regan, cofounder and chief of relationship development at TranzAct Technologies. “If you are an occasional, inefficient shipper, be prepared to pay more,” he said.

These problems are the main reason we at Nelson International are so determined to highlight the port improvements we’re seeing at the Virginia International Gateway. The more efficient the system of unloading, trucking and rail becomes, the more cargo we can safely and quickly transport across the country. Being an efficient industry leader in the game of ports, trucks and rails, allows VIG to reduce waiting times, hours lost and cargo delays. Keeping an eye on the timing of cargo for our customers is a fundamental part of the services we offer and we apply this to each routing we schedule. Updates need to be made across the board and we’re proud our home port is leading the way, in advance of the problems that increases in traffic bring. Let us know if we can help you alleviate congestion with innovative and creative freight solutions.