Cargo ports say new container depots could help clear backlogs

Date: Thursday, February 2022
Source: DC Velocity

In the face of backed up container flows at congested ports, a South Carolina marine and rail logistics service provider today introduced expanded container storage capacity at 18 depot locations throughout the Southeast, Mid-South, and Gulf regions.

The solution is designed to address the terminal congestion and supply chain capacity challenges that are forcing shippers to find alternative space for loaded containers, according to Charleston, South Carolina-based Marine Repair Services-Container Maintenance Corporation (MRS-CMC).

The launch follows news yesterday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would help fund a similar approach at the Port of Oakland. That federal backing would help finance a 22-acre “pop up” container yard that was announced in January, clearing up valuable space on the docks and providing incentives that could spark a resurgence of agricultural exports, the port said.

Both plans envision similar solutions to the challenge of a global shipping logjam that has created dockside congestion of empty containers.

In California, the Port of Oakland said the USDA would fund 60% of the start-up costs for Oakland’s export container depot, allowing truckers to bypass marine terminals and granting agricultural exporters access to pre-cool refrigerated containers for loading perishable products. The dollar amount of the deal was not disclosed.

“Covid-19 revealed vulnerabilities across our supply system, both at our ports and in the agricultural sector,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a release. “This partnership with the Port of Oakland builds on our aggressive approach to addressing challenges within the supply chain and sends a strong signal that we are committed to working across the Administration and with state, local and private partners to mitigate complex port capacity and congestion issues and to keep American agriculture on the move.”

Likewise, in South Carolina, MRS-CMC’s new container storage solution was initially launched in Savannah, but has now been expanded to all the firm’s depots after a hearty response from the market.

“Port Terminals need the import-loaded containers removed quickly and the export-loaded containers returned in time for the vessel stevedoring,” Bryan Blalock, MRS-CMC’s chief operating officer, said in a release. “Warehouses and rail yards are simply packed beyond capacity, so the need for additional space for loaded containers is at an all-time high. Shippers and [beneficial cargo owners] have been particularly responsive to our service, and the trucking community as well as freight forwarders are securing additional space. This is the type of practical solution to a real-world problem that our customers need right now. This is especially the case in our locations we offer the grounded solution, freeing up wheels that can be used more efficiently.”

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