In response to surging US imports and the resulting intermodal equipment flow imbalances all members of the logistics sector have been challenged to find solutions. Maersk senior officials have stated that this is a situation the company takes very seriously. Every component of Maersk’s integrated global logistics business model is working across the entire logistics spectrum to respond with solutions involving all supply chain participants.
Maersk is taking steps to address the concerns of the US export community and the trucking industry feeling the impact during this already difficult time.
Global trade patterns often result in limited availability of empty containers in the US – which has a historic equipment imbalance of more imports than exports. This has been especially acute with US import demand spiking during the COVID-19 environment due to changing consumer spending patterns.
Maersk has met virtually with the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC) – a Washington D.C.- based trade group whose membership performs an important role in managing the interests of US agricultural exporters and transportation policy. Maersk’s Head of North America Trade, Franck DeDenis recently made a broadcast presentation to AgTC members during their virtual midyear meeting on December 8th.
Additionally, FMC Chairman Michael Khouri has discussed the particular challenges facing the US export community with A.P. Moller-Maersk CEO Soren Skou and Maersk remains committed to taking actions it can to improve conditions for all supply chain participants.
Surging import cargoes have also been causing challenges for local truckers in major ports such as Los Angeles/Long Beach.
Maersk is in daily contact with Weston LaBar, the President of the Long Beach, California-based Harbor Trucking Association (HTA).
APM Terminals Pier 400 Los Angeles is the largest privately-operated container terminal in the Los Angeles/Long Beach port – and in North America. As such, it plays a pivotal role in the daily flow of cargo with the trucking community. Working with Mr. Labar, the terminal is focused on dual transactions, which enable a trucker to return an empty container and pick up an import container for local delivery in the same trip. 65% of Pier 400’s gate transactions are dual transactions – and the goal is to increase this, enabling higher productivity trips for harbor truckers. Pier 400 has also offered late night, Friday gates and Saturday gates based on customer and trucker needs during the peak season.
Maersk operates in the 2M Alliance, considered the easiest ocean carrier alliance by truckers to work with (since the alliance consists of only two ocean carriers – Maersk and MSC – who each operate a single container terminal in the LA-Long Beach complex). This allows truckers to efficiently pickup and return containers to two facilities located very near each other.
Also providing support on trucking issues, Maersk’s Regional Head of Transportation, Los Angeles-based Bill Peratt, is a member of the Harbor Trucking Association Productivity committee, contributing his expertise to finding solutions to the trucking industry’s challenges.
Maersk is taking similar steps on a global level to understand customer pain points, find solutions and engage with regulators to improve the current logistics ecosystem.