Which way to turn? It seems there isn’t a correct answer for US importers right now.
With the increasing congestion and disruption at the west coast gateways, many importers changed tactics and moved imports from Asia to the east coast. But this didn’t prove successful, with congestion there even worse than on the Pacific coast gateway.
MarineTraffic has reported 18 containerships lining up at the port of Charleston and another 12 waiting for berth space at Norfolk. A further 16 ships were lining up at Los Angeles and Long Beach. The analytics firm reported a total of 186,000 teu waiting at the gateway complex compared to 273,000 teu on the east coast.
Experts say the congestion in the eastern gateways has been building for a while. Throughout the second half of 2021, the east coast has seen a notable increase of mega-ships, thanks to the shift of imports prompted by congestion in the west.
“It has slowly been getting worse and has been sporadic, but is starting to become a major concern. We have seen the delays expanding by several days.” Bob Imbriani, Team Worldwide
“The east coast is the next hot spot for terribly high congestion." Xenata
The increasing east coast issues have led to a growing number of importers and forwarders switching from the east to the Gulf of Mexico. Container imports to the Port of Houston have seen the teu tally in January jump up 27%, year on year. Now Houston docks are getting swamped…
And so the problems continue.