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Today's Pickup: Port of Los Angeles Delay "Worse Than It Was Earlier This Year," Shipper Says

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Today's Pickup: Port of Los Angeles Delay "Worse Than It Was Earlier This Year," Shipper Says

Even the Port's director agrees something needs to be done; East Coast port notches new record; ATA crows about California victory.

Good day,

It should be a valedictory year for the Port of Los Angeles. The biggest port in the U.S. is on track to close out another record year for freight. Yet customers are still voicing their discontent. Timothy Sher, president of the Asian Food Trade Association, spoke before the last meeting of the Board of Harbor Commissioners about the headaches his group's members face when fetching containers from the port. Those problems include chassis availability, appointment times, and increasing demurrage fees. With the ocean liners having divested their chassis assets, shippers now face having to secure chassis from the port's Pool of Pools or finding motor carriers with their own chassis. But Sher said current chassis procurement processes "kind of delays everything and makes the pickup very inefficient." The port's driver appointment system is also not allowing for timely pickup, with customers being forced to pay demurrage fees of $200 to $500. "The situation is worse than it was earlier this year," Sher told the Board. During the meeting, the port's executive director Eugene Seroka could only agree with Sher's assessment, saying the delays are "absolutely unacceptable." 

Did you know?

South Carolina Ports is the latest to report record volumes coming across its docks. The port handled 188,585 twenty-foot equivalent units in November, up 15 percent vs. November 2017, setting a new all-time record for the month of November. SCPA has moved 985,981 teus since the fiscal year began in July, an increase of 11 percent over the same period last year. 

Quotable:

"This decision is a tremendous victory for the trucking industry, bringing our efforts to secure immediate relief for ATA members to a close."

--Chris Spear, president and chief executive of American Trucking Associations, on the FMCSA's decision to overturn California's meal-and-rest break requirements.

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In other news:

Japanese liner operators seek berth in Singapore

Ocean Network Express to team up on mega-container marine terminal (World Maritime News)

Pakistan launches privatized rail service  3

Country experiments with private freight rail service. (Brecorder)

Canada's largest railroad expects bumper 2019

Chief executive of Canadian National Railway says oil, grain and potash will drive growth. (The Star)

Container dwell time becoming issue on West Coast

Shippers' trade group says containers sit too long at Los Angeles and Long Beach. (American Shipper)

Canadian truckers show support for oil and gas industry

Alberta-based drivers stage 1,000-strong convoy in support of pipeline development. (CBC)

Final Thoughts

Stock researchers at Stifel is pulling in its outlook on the less-than-truckload sector as next year is looking weaker for freight markets. Among major names in the LTL sector, it only has ‘buy' recommendations on XPO Logistics (NYSE: XPO) and TFI International (TSE: TFII), while hold recommendations are in place for Old Dominion (NASDAQ: ODFL), Saia (NASDAQ: SAIA) and ArcBest (NASDAQ: ARCB). Stifel notes that many of these companies are trading at low valuations thanks to the recent sell-off in the stock market. But it notes the sell-off "is telling us something negative is brewing on a grander scale that is not yet evident to most of us." The bank notes that recent conversations with these companies show "they are less optimistic about 2019, but not pessimistic."

Hammer down everyone!

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