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Port of Long Beach - container terminal. Effects of corona pandemic

The corona effects on ports in California

Changed schedules, revised procedures and blank sailings were just a few of the effects of the Corona pandemic on the ports in California.

Many West Coast importers distribution centers are filled up.  Many of the 3PL’s are filled to capacity.  Our warehouses in San Diego and Calexico are completely filled as well.

Harbor Trucking Services: Currently, there is an oversupply of trucking companies and trucks available to pick up harbor freight.

We have received schedules of planned blanked sailings and also anticipate additional unannounced blanked sailings.  On the horizon are light volumes for the rest of May and June.

Larger ships have been appearing on the West Coast in unusual places (Oakland and Portland), as well as the major ports.  When these ships arrive, it’s a mad dash to pick up cargo (some cargo like food and beverages, machine parts, are urgently needed to fill their supply chains).

Improved Customer service at all the West Coast ports by the landlords of the terminals (the ports themselves)  with an outreach by the port authorities .  The Port of Long Beach has recently changed their marketing slogan from “The Green Port” to “The Port Of Choice”, which highlights the current competition amongst U.S. import gateway ports.

The Port of Los Angeles and Port of Oakland were expecting a surge of cargo in late April.  As far as I can tell, the surge didn’t happen, although due to changes in the shipping alliances, LA did get a ship that was destined for Long Beach.

The issue of demurrage and detention in LA/LB has been a hot topic.  With the shorter gate days and hours, returning empties to the docks has become difficult at times, resulting in detention charges.  The Port of Long Beach does not charge demurrage on cargo that is being examined, while the Port of Los Angeles does.

We are also getting reports that cargo is being rolled at origin.  This ultimately comes down to ‘blanked sailings’, as carriers are trying to optimize their carriage of cargo on each ship.  I also suspect that they are using this to try and keep the spot market for freight high.


Robert Krieger, President, Norman Krieger, Inc. In Los Angeles/CA, phone 310-668-5700, e-mail