Multiple calls by large vessels on certain days of the week, known as vessel bunching, are straining the equipment and labor resources at US ports and presenting a growing threat to productivity at container terminals, according to a JOC.com study.
Although mega-ships in and of themselves have an impact on terminal resources and productivity, “the bunching will be causing more significant challenges” in stressing the ability of ship-to-shore cranes, labor and container yard equipment to handle the cargo surges, according to Andy Lane, a partner with CTI Consultancy.
Vessel bunching is straining the ability of the ports and their terminal operators to muster sufficient labor and equipment on peak days, Lane said. The bunching effect can last for two or three days because of the increasing size of the cargo surges. Port congestion is a growing global problem as ocean carriers introduce ever-larger vessels and these mega-ships generate huge cargo surges that impact marine terminals and the roadways that feed the ports.
The Northwest Seaport Alliance of Seattle and Tacoma in early November will launch two mobile applications designed to help truckers and beneficial cargo owners expedite the flow of containers through and within marine terminals and along local freight corridors.