Port backlogs are becoming more problematic and widespread. While much of the media coverage focuses on the U.S. West Coast, according to The Wall Street Journal, the backlog has affected the Port of Savannah too. “Between 20 and 26 vessels have been idling at a time in the Atlantic Ocean in recent weeks, including 24 that were waiting for berth space at Savannah,” The WSJ reported in September 2021. The solution to the backlog is to increase throughput and get empty containers back to Asia faster. And improvements in the chassis pool, such as requiring more dual transactions, could help overcome the backlogs.
What’s Happening With Port Chassis Pool Challenges?
Multiple factors are limiting port chassis pools, including:
- Fewer available drivers.
- Limited staff for loading/unloading.
- Delays in container transit.
- Inability to return empty containers to ports quickly.
Depending on differences by port, the average container dwell time is nearly one week. That means each chassis rented from the available pool at the port is not returned for seven or more days. That delay is even higher when the warehouses are full or at near-full stock levels.
Another problem comes from the lack of flexible appointment slots. Remember, the port decides appointment availability, and with added pressure to increase throughput, those that can maximize container use—getting it back faster—will get appointments first. That’s where the whole issue becomes laser-focused on dual transactions.
How Dual Transactions Can Help
Understanding dual transactions can be confusing. After all, all moves technically contain two legs, a head haul and a backhaul. In most cases, the empty return trip is known as deadheading, but that’s where things get tricky. In drayage and moving containers, the goal should be to return with an empty container faster. As a result, the container gets dropped off at the terminal, and the driver can take a full container to another inland port, warehouse or distribution center.
Planning is the critical step of enabling dual transactions, and it’s that ability to look at all the needs of the supply chain that results in some companies waiting for a single transaction move. Unfortunately, waiting for slow single transactions is much more troublesome. After all, the chassis sits empty and does not make money, which affects the drivers and supply chains equally. Meanwhile, ports have started implementing new rules for the types of chassis used at different terminals, so focusing solely on a single transaction-view of drayage grows much more costly and confusing.
Other Opportunities to Clear Logjams
Using dual transactions isn’t the only way to clear logjams, but it does provide several other benefits. A few notable ways to reduce the impact and severity of logjams at ports include:
- Creating faster container turn-times by unloading a full container at a nearby warehouse and returning with an empty container.
- Improved local temporary storage lets shippers deconsolidate freight faster into LTL and get containers emptied more efficiently.
- Access to more extensive trucking networks that are experts in drayage and avoiding delays at different ports.
- Streamlining operations with expertise to prevent violations of port regulations and keeping fees at bay.
- Paying attention to detail, knowing when to send freight to a different port for loading/unloading too, such as the Port of Miami instead of the Port of Savannah.
- Around-the-clock freight management and advisory services to adhere to port rules and requirements for containers.
Choose Port City Logistics to Increase Efficiency in the Chassis Pool
Shippers know the only way to overcome the logjams at today’s ports, especially as e-commerce continues to grow in volume, lies with efficiency in drayage. Part of that entails increasing efficiency in chassis pools, gaining more visibility into available chassis, and eliminating a trip from distribution centers without an empty container. It’s high time for shippers to start sending empty containers back on every return leg and stop this waste in drayage once and for all. Connect with Port City Logistics to get started today.