San Francisco: For the first time in months the Port of Oakland, California, was able on Thursday to report no backlog of vessels in San Francisco Bay or outside the Golden Gate awaiting berths.
The vessel backlog had plagued ports all along the west coast of the US as the effects of a nine-month labour disagreement exacerbated pre-existing logistical problems.
Thursday was the first time since January that all ships calling at Oakland, the fifth busiest container port in the US, berthed without delay, the port raid in a statement. As recently as last month, up to 20 vessels a day were lined up waiting to dock.
Port officials said most ships are in-and-out of Oakland within two days, a big improvement from recent months when vessel turnaround could take four-to-five days. Cargo owners are receiving containerised imports shortly after the boxes are discharged from vessels. Until recently, customers could wait weeks for shipments.
“No more delays: that’s the message we’re sending to our customers and the shipping lines that carry their cargo,” said the port’s maritime director John Driscoll.
Many pundits and industry insiders have been speculating on how much business the west coast ports could lose permanently to the recent delays. Some customers and members of the supply chain may prefer other options – east coast ports, Canadian ports, Central American canals, for example – to the uncertainty the west coast has represented.