Keep It Simple, Sweetheart!

We keep hearing that the delays and other problems brought on by congestion at LA/Long Beach will soon be cleared up, and by the looks of things it’s seems to be happening. One of the complacent reports accounted for this development by stating that a number of factors, including diverted vessels, has eased the congestion. More than just the 100 or so vessels have been diverted, however. Blame has been diverted, as well. Rail congestion has been cited as the cause of the port’s problems, and if you believe that you might well be in the market for one of Saddam Hussein’s WMD’s.

This website has been suggesting:

1. … that the only way to deal with the steadily increasing congestion in and around embattled ports is to direct, deliberately, the ever-increasing number of container ships to ports closer to the end user. At the present time, the diversions of these vessels at LA/Long Beach are an emergency diversion on the part of shipping lines, not a planned diversion on the part of port authorities, so criticism rather than praise is in order. More than a year ago Secretary Mineta suggested that dispersion would be required, and he stated that 200 more ports must be set up as container handling ports in order to deal with projected increases in volume. Ever-increasing volumes, he knew, would require ever-increasing numbers of vessels, which is why he didn’t in any way infer that railroads would be the cause of the chaos in our container ports. Mr. Mineta made it quite clear that a blizzard of cargo was en route and that 60 ports wouldn’t suffice. Dozens of authorities have cited the lack of coastal acreage, as well as the numerous inefficiencies of conventionally-structured terminals, and have alerted authorities to strangled port facilities. But these messages have yet to be fully understood.

2. … that the only way to speed up storage, retrieval and delivery of these increasing numbers is to abandon the primitive, costly, and unwieldy practices used in today’s container operations. Mr. Tilden, who at one time stated prophetically that the Port of Oakland is, “… betting the lines will hit a brick wall in Southern California”, warned us once again just a few weeks ago that, “We have to find a different way to operate, or else we are not going to be able to handle the trade”. Is he the only one on the West Coast with foresight?

3. … and that Mr. Belzer was right when he stated that low wages, long hours, piece work and unsafe working conditions imposed upon truckers are forcing them to leave the industry. “If the problem is not resolved soon, you won’t have to worry about gridlock because there won’t be any trucks on the road,” was the way he put it.

This website has quoted the concerns and the consternation of some of the foremost maritime and terminal authorities. These officials, under the gun day in and day out, seem to have the impression that some kind of yet-to-be-discovered “rocket science” will be the way to overcome the many obstacles facing container handlers. But that isn’t so. Remember the K-I-S-S principle. “Simple”, is usually quick and affordable, and our retrofitted systems illustrate that principle perfectly.