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'Improbable that longer US West Coast port hours will reduce congestion'

Shipping and port analysts predict only a slight immediate improvement in container congestion at US ports with longer business hours at ports. The main choke points have been identified as too few truck drivers to transport and handle the huge increase in volumes at the ports, inadequate rail capacity which has been taken unawares by the upsurge in consumer demand, as well as the long-standing difficulty of balancing chassis demand and supply.

Ed de Nike, president of SSA Terminals, which operates three of the biggest terminals on the West Coast, has stated: "We don’t believe that more gate hours are going to solve the problem.”

Analysts agree that the shortage of truck drivers can mostly be overcome by paying higher wages. The pandemic worsened the situation, with thousands giving up because of fewer loads and already low rates paid for each load. Now there are many more loads in theory, but each delivery takes three or more times as long because of the hours spent waiting at terminals.


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