According to Webster’s 1956, 1979, 1985 and 1990 Dictionaries: The word “logic” is defined as the science concerned with the principles of valid reasoning and correct inference. The word is derived from the Greek word ‘logos’, meaning ‘word, thought or speech’. The word “logistics” is defined as the branch of military science having to do with moving, supplying and quartering troops. This word comes from the French word ‘loger’, meaning’ to quarter’.
Too bad the words have nothing to do with each other. Supply chain and transportation logistic practices would be much improved if every logistician would fall back upon the principles of valid reasoning and foresight, the way Tom Ward of JWD Group in Oakland does. He was quick to identify and point out the obvious capacity constraints in the supply chain’s intermodal rail and trucking infrastructure, and the undeniable fact that these constraints prevent the ports’ achieving their full potential. The ports’ major chokepoints are not at the marine terminals, he said, but at the terminal gate connections to the inland rail and truck networks. Even though some have overlooked this stumbling block, other astute maritime officials have called attention to this bottleneck. Here are the exact words of some who’ve recently made the same observation Tom did:
“The congestion problems cannot be solved with fixes that occur solely within terminals. In particular, inbound cargo can be moved off the terminals only at the rate that the supporting road and rail infrastructure will permit, and the capacity of that network is nearing its limits in many areas. Think of it as a backyard pool; it will empty only as fast as its drainpipe allows.”
— Michael J.S. Seymour, President Americas, P&O Ports
“Carriers introduced the 8,200-TEU mega-vessels to assist in delivering improved service reliability and economies of scale, but any benefit gained was quickly negated by land and terminal infrastructures that could not support the increased volumes. These bottlenecks caused disruptions and added costs to the customers’ supply chain-distribution channels as well as to container carriers due to berthing delays, terminal congestion, diversion costs and decreased productivity.
— Frank J. Baragona, President, CMA CGM (America) Inc.
“The backlog of import boxes stranded on the U.S. West Coast and in European terminals, plus the parking lot lookalike 8,000 TEU vessels awaiting berths in Los Angeles-Long Beach and Seattle, are a clear sign that our facilities are overtaxed. Our inland infrastructure is NOT capable of handling the influx of containers.”
— Jim Poon, Chairman, Hong Kong Liner Shipping
Here’s a puzzler for you. Why are some consultants now contradicting themselves by proposing six-high stacking in order to attain increased production per acre? Didn’t these same officials once claim that time-consuming “stacked” operations were less efficient and more costly than “wheeled” operations? These opposing schools of thought can’t both be logical. Wouldn’t in-terminal six-high stacking further complicate things at the major chokepoints, the terminal gate connections? Hmmm?