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Supply chains top concerns: Detention and Delays

bp truck loading delays

For this transportation-themed series, Blueprints hosted a roundtable discussion of crucial issues affecting the sector. Learn what our panel of nine experts had to say, as they offer their perspectives and weigh in on key issues and more.

Everyone in the industry knows about the time lost to delays at ports and elsewhere.

A 2020 study by American Trucking Research Institute found the increase in delays and detention was up 27.4 percent over the previous four years, which is why the challenge remains on the Top 10 list, moving up two slots in 2021 to seventh place.

Jason Furman, president and COO, Sunbelt Logistics Group BB #:135767 in Mississauga, ON
The border restrictions pertaining to unvaccinated drivers (in February) further exacerbated cost surges by fueling excess demand for trucks.

There are more loads per truck available on the market than there have ever been before—it’s now three or more loads for each truck with outbound loads.

Shippers are forced to take late pickups and deliveries in order to fulfill customer orders.

Michael Miqueli, president, San Antonio Broker Services, Inc. BB #:197829 in Secaucus, NJ
The New York and New Jersey ports have done all they can to ease delays, but the problem stems from a bigger issue.

First, they widened the Panama Canal so it could accommodate the larger vessels that come east, then they raised the Bayonne Bridge by 64 feet so the ports could service those vessels.

That’s great, but growth works in four prongs: vessel size, port size, warehouse size, and trucking availability.

All these plans are made, yet they’re never inclusive of the trucking community. We’re the most vital part of the operation, and we’re ignored.

Ted Prince, COO and EVP for planning, Tiger Cool Express, LLC BB #:290720 in Overland Park, KS
Some independent operators will turn down accounts—they won’t go to a location. Produce is tough because they’re running a split day; with light loads, they unload and reload.

Tight windows can be a real problem if the key issues aren’t addressed. But the produce business will generally be okay because it moves expedited loads.

Lowell Randel, SVP government and legal affairs, Global Cold Chain Alliance in Arlington, VA
Our members are experiencing delays, detention, and demurrage on a regular basis. We applaud the USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] and its actions to find creative solutions, such as the pop-up ports announced in Oakland and Seattle.

These can provide some immediate relief to port congestion and reduce these kinds of delays. In addition to these short-term solutions, we support reforms to detention and demurrage policies such as those included in the Ocean Shipping Reform Act.

Norita Taylor, director of PR, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) BB #:162349 in Grain Valley, MO
The best way to address the problems caused by detention and delays is to pay drivers for their time.

This is an excerpt from the Transportation & Logistics supplement to the July/August 2022 issue of Produce Blueprints Magazine. Click here to read the whole supplement.