Ocean Freight Shipping delays due to West Coast Congestion


As the world economy improves, an increased volume of ocean freight shipped overseas is causing congestion throughout the U.S. Moody’s upgraded its assessment of shipping from negative to stable, predicting a 3%- 4% increase in volume.

Port of Los Angeles moved 8,340,065.65 TEU’s last year. Imports in December 2014 were 336,674.95 TEU’s, up by 4%, compared with 2013, while exports were 152,112.00 down by 11% from last December.

Hampton Roads Va. set a record in Oct. 2014 of 226,000 TEU’s and has had four straight months of 220,000 TEU’s.

Port volumes in Tacoma was increasing 10-15% from July to October 2014 before contract negotiations with the ILWU resulted in slowdowns and congestion.

Union slowdown causing shipping delays on West Coast

The ports on the West Coast of the U.S. are currently dealing with several issues causing severe delays and cost overruns. Here are a few of those issues:



  • Unions do not have a contract with PMA (Pacific Maritime Assoc.).
  • Port automation has increased workloads and cut down manpower increasing workloads.
  • Finding a trucker to move containers is nearly impossible at Long Beach and LAX. Due to wait times, truckers cannot make a profit hauling containers from the port. Truckers at some ports are charging for wait times averaging $60.00
  • There have been new developments in the contract negotiations. In an effort to put pressure on both parties to resolve their differences President Obama sent Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to San Francisco this week, where talks are being held. If there is no outcome by February 20th, the talks will move to Washington D.C.. . The situation is taking a toll on everyone from farmers to manufacturers and retailers. There are more than a dozen large tankers moored outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach waiting for berths to unload cargo.

How delays and slowdowns affects your shipping

If you are importing or exporting to Asia, expect delays of several weeks to a month or more due to West Coast port congestion.

In certain circumstances, delays result in increased fees and re-routed cargo. Shippers who must get their cargo out are trucking to East Coast ports to meet deadlines.

Because of the interconnected nature of the shipping business, delays have a cascading effect on other West Coast ports, including Oakland, Seattle, and Tacoma.

iContainers is recommending that you allow for greater lead times in order to complete your shipping out of West Coast ports.

Normal lead time for pick up is one week, but due to possible delays, iContainers is asking customers for 3 to 4 weeks to ensure your booking and suggests not leaving the country before your goods have shipped.

If you must leave before your items are shipped, make sure you have a representative who can handle any unforeseen changes to your booking or consider placing your goods in a warehouse where they are accessible during business hours.
And, finally, you must have patience. The situation at the ports is out of our hands. Everyone involved is, doing their best to accommodate the shipping needs of customer.

The following West Coast Updates will assist you in your planning:

Los Angeles/Long Beach:

This port remains open; however, congestion is at its peak right now and getting a trucker is nearly impossible.
Delays are running into weeks or longer.

Night closure may occur shortly.


Several carriers have discontinued all services out of this port until congestion clears and re-opening dates are unknown at this time.

So far, Hamburg Sud, Yang Ming, COSCO, CCNI and others are expected to follow and close due to congestion.


There are currently heavy delays at this port.

Terminal 18 in Seattle is currently closed due to ILWU labor issues. The carriers listed below use this port:

  • ANL-US Lines
  • Maersk Line
  • Safmarine
  • Matson Navigation
  • Hanjin Shipping
  • China Ocean Shipping Co.
  • Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha
  • Yang Ming Line
  • APL Limited
  • MOL
  • Hamburg Sud
  • Hyundai Merchant Marine
  • Hapag Lloyd

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