Import Container Drayage
This year has been anything but ordinary. Record cargo volumes in the port of Los Angeles/Long Beach and increased volumes nationwide have created delivery challenges for many of your shipments. As you have done in years past, you are turning to us to help you find a solution in these unprecedented times. In the normal times of the past, we were able to find new truckers for you when your usual trucker let you down. Unfortunately, as with many things this year, everything is different. We are no longer having the level of success finding new truckers for you that we have had in the past.
Truckers with whom many of you have worked for years are refusing our delivery orders for new, incoming shipments. They already have so many delivery orders on their books, they are unable to accept new ones – even for longstanding clients. Port congestion, chassis shortage and lack of available terminal appointments have created chaos for the truckers. Long waiting times at the terminals as well as the delivery warehouses have tied up drivers for many more hours than was originally planned that morning when they were dispatched. Truckers are waiting for hours in lines at the terminals only to be turned away without a container resulting in dry run charges which clients are refusing to pay. The inability to secure appointments at the terminals has resulted in demurrage and detention charges while terminals and steamship lines refuse to extend free time.
Predictions are that this situation will not improve until after Lunar New Year in mid-February 2021. If you have incoming shipments, we are urging you to reach out to your truckers to confirm their current operational status.
a. Are they accepting new delivery orders? Will they accept yours?
b. If they are not accepting new D.O.s, do they have a date when they will start accepting again?
c. Who is your back-up trucker? Have you reached out to them or to other truckers that you have used in the past? Will they accept your new delivery order?
d. Does your container need a genset? Does your booking include a genset reservation already? Does the genset need to be reserved on this end ahead of time or is it a first come/first served policy at the port of arrival?
As always, we will strive to provide the best service to our clients as current conditions allow. But even we cannot convince our most trusted truckers to accept delivery orders that they are simply unable to handle. On any given day, we are reaching out to thirty different truckers and we are receiving the same answer and it is not the answer we want.
We need your help as we navigate the turbulence together. Expect demurrage and detention charges to be higher. Expect delays as the import volumes continue to surge. If we ask for your assurances to honor our invoices that include demurrage/detention charges, please be patient with us. Many of our clients are disputing these charges after we have advanced them on your behalf in good faith. Terminals and steamship lines bill these charges and we have no ability to get them waived or refunded after they have been paid.
As so many have been forced to close their doors this year due to economic uncertainties and lockdowns, we continue to remain thankful for our customers who rely on us. We look forward to a new year and improved conditions at the ports as 2020 comes to an end and we begin anew in 2021.