The trend to transload cargo from an ocean container to a domestic trailer upon arrival at the port is on the rise. Beneficial cargo owners are enjoying the option of not having to determine the ultimate consignee prior to making the ocean booking arrangements. Shippers can now have the extra time while the container is on the water to determine the final destination of the cargo by using transloading services.
In the last five years transloading has increased from 52 percent to 55 percent of imports in Los Angeles and Long Beach. Increased e-commerce is one reason for this trend being favorable to logistics managers. Companies need to be able to fulfill customer orders faster and can save on total transit times by routing to certain ports and hauling it by truck to the final destination. There is a need for increased transloading facilities near the ports.
In 2015, 50.7 percent of imports from China came through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. It is common for high value goods, such as electronics, to enter via the west coast because of the willingness of shippers to pay the extra cost of the intermodal transportation in return for speed to market. For lower value items, shippers will tend to route to the closest seaport to the consignee in order to save money.
In 2017, 78 percent of new vessels will be mega ships with capacity over 10,000 twenty-foot-equivalents. U.S. ports need to prepare for these larger ships and the congestion that is associated with them. The message from ocean carriers is that ports will need to be prepared to accept the ships or they will lose market share.
With the trend of e-commerce and the need for a speedy delivery, terminal efficiencies are crucial. The reality is the mega ships will be calling fewer ports than the smaller vessels did so the need for a transloading option will become even more attractive.
Shippers should consider the needs of their customers in terms of speed to market and can add transloading as an option to help meet their objectives. With the new ocean carrier alliances effective April 1, 2017 and the addition of more mega ships to their fleets, shippers will find less service options for smaller ports than what is currently offered.
Beneficial cargo owners should begin researching alternative routings and transloading to avoid delivery delays. Shippers should be sure all aspects are considered when choosing a transportation method, including cost, speed to market and service quality.