Shippers get creative amid West Coast port congestion

Shipping companies are rerouting their cargo to avoid the congestion in West Coast ports.

Shipping companies are rerouting their cargo to avoid the congestion in West Coast ports.

Although the face-off between shipping lines and dockworkers on the West Coast has reached a conclusion in the form of a tentative five-year labor contract, congestion is unlikely to clear up for a number of weeks. This slowdown is forcing shippers to find creative solutions and alternate pathways for shipments they normally would have sent through the trans-Pacific route.

National Public Radio (NPR) recently reported that companies have begun sending their shipments to ports in Western Canada such as Vancouver and Prince Rupert. However, this is not a fully satisfactory solution because Canadian ports can't handle the level of traffic that the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach typically experience. Additionally, Canada doesn't have the same rail networks that make the movement of cargo on land so efficient on the West Coast of the United States. As a result, shippers are also turning to other ports for help, such as ports in Mexico and along the Gulf Coast. 

The East Coast ports are also experiencing heavier traffic as a result of the West Coast congestion, because shipments are arriving from Asia via the Suez Canal. The cost of shipping a container on the East Coast has risen as demand has increased, but companies are willing to pay a higher fee to get their shipments off on schedule. 

The shipping industry is extremely complicated, with many different variables that affect pricing, routes and strategies. If your company has shipping needs, it may be best to hire a third-party logistics company to handle the delivery process for you. Reliable Runners is a businesses with many years of experience in the industry, and our professionals are fully equipped and ready to help your company thrive.