Factors behind the Congestion of San Pedro Ports
The congestion was exacerbated by the difficult renegotiation of the ILWU west coast longshore contract that expired in July 1, 2014 and the shift in chassis ownership from the ocean carriers to leasing companies. The use of larger containerships by the ocean carrier alliances meant large volumes of containers were being discharged from one vessel. Handling such a large volume of cargo strained the operating efficiencies of the terminals at a time when insufficient chassis were available for truckers to use to remove containers from the terminals. The inability to retrieve the cargo in a timely manner increased the container dwell time in the terminal, further increasing terminal congestion. Many shippers had demurrage charges imposed on their cargo because of their inability to get the cargo removed from the terminal and truckers were frustrated with long delays. This combination of circumstances undermined the reputation of Los Angeles and Long Beach at a critical time as other gateways aggressively were competing to divert cargo away from the US west coast.