August ’22 at-a-glance … supply chain

Shipping challenges expanding to U.S. east coast ports

The ocean shipping landscape is growing increasingly complicated during what is already a busy shipping season. The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is moving quickly to implement the Ocean Shipping Report Act of 2022 (OSRA). Labor negotiations continue between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU). And of particular concern is escalating activity at the U.S. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey where cargo volumes have risen nearly 12% this year and 34% compared to the same period in 2019.

FMC Chair Daniel B. Maffei visited the Port Authority earlier this month to meet with trucking and marine terminal operators about growing congestion at the nation’s second largest container port. The backlogs are caused by shippers moving goods to the east coast due to concerns over ongoing contract negotiations on the west coast. In addition to New Jersey/New York, ports at Norfolk and Savannah also report multiple vessels at anchor.

In New Jersey/New York, the large number of empty containers waiting to be picked up by ocean carriers is further contributing to the problem. The Port Authority announced a container imbalance fee effective Sept. 1 whereby ocean carriers’ total outgoing container volume must be 110% or more of their incoming container volume or face a $100 per container fee. Additionally, Maffei promised to expand the investigation “where shippers and truckers are being forced to store containers or move them without proper compensation.”

“We thank those members who advocated with NAFEM for passage of the OSRA and continue to work with elected and appointed officials, as well as allied organization, toward solutions to these complicated challenges,” said Charlie Souhrada, CFSP, vice president of regulatory & technical affairs.

As of publication, there was no news on the negotiations representing 15,600 dockworkers at 29 ports along the West Coast.