Thursday, February 2, 2023
HomeContainersPop-Up Container Yards Offer Pressure Valve for Port Congestion


To our FREE newsletter
Get all the latest maritime news delivered straight to your inbox.

Pop-Up Container Yards Offer Pressure Valve for Port Congestion

Walmart has developed an empty space near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach into a pop-up container yard.

The aim is to store containers off dock and alleviate the pressure the ports have come under since import volumes rebounded so heavily last year.

“Check this out – this was an empty lot near the LA/LB ports just four weeks ago,” posted Walmart EVP supply chain operations Joe Metzger on social media.

“Now it processes over 500 containers a day, helping to sort through priority freight for our downstream operations and, most importantly, having the inventory and stock for our Walmart customers for the holidays!”

The initiative from Walmart is not the first inland facility, but the expectation is that the import boom is transient in nature and these facilities will disappear when ‘normality’ returns to the supply chains into the US.

Nevertheless, Mr Metzger said: “This pop-up operation has dramatically improved our flow of containers, not only out of the port, but back into our port terminals with empty containers.”

Further east, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), with eager support from the White House. is setting up inland container stations to alleviate the congestion on its docks, with large importers also embracing the concept.

The GPA and railroad Norfolk Southern started to move containers through the the latter’s Dillon Yard, near the port of Savannah, yesterday in an effort to shift some container traffic away, and marked the start of a broader design to ease congestion at the port.

Later this week, the pair intend to route boxes to Statesboro Airport, some 60 miles west of Savannah.

If the concept is successful, the GPA plans to open four or five more ad hoc container facilities around the state in the coming weeks, and has also been holding talks with another major railway, CSX, about establishing a storage site in North Carolina.

Capacity on Savannah’s docks has been stretched: October brought a record-breaking influx of boxes. It handled 504,350 teu that month, up 8.7% from a year earlier.

The GPA has invested time and money in the set-ups at Dillon Yard and Statesboro Airport, renting top loaders, installing computer lines for container tracking and laying extra pavement at the yard.

It certainly helped that Washington is eagerly supporting the concept to shift boxes offsite. The administration has shifted $8m of previously allocated funding to the GPA for this.

The federal government quickly warmed to the idea of pop-up locations for container storage to relieve docks. Earlier this month, the Department of Transportation announced plans for five ‘pop-up ports’ to soak up some of the volumes and expressed hope for more such facilities in other areas.

GPA CVEO Griff Lynch said early this month that the port and its rail partners would move cargo for a set of retailers to locations closer to their distribution facilities. Several regular users of the port of Savannah have opened pop-up container yards.

Craig Grossgart, SVP global ocean at Seko Logistics, said that in normal times importers would be reluctant to embrace container ‘pre-pulls’, “but in these extraordinary times, they are certainly required. So, every spare lot that can accommodate containers is attracting top dollar these days”.

To be viable, such pop-up container yards have to be fenced, for security reasons, and need a manned gate for processing. If containers have to be stacked, the surface has to be sufficiently strong and a reach stacker is required, Mr Grossgart pointed out.

Usually, operators would avoid the associated cost, but under the current circumstances they are willing to shoulder the expense, he noted and added: “Once this mess goes away, so will the pop-ups.”

For the GPA, the new pop-up facilities supplement inland ports, part of its long-term strategy to extend its reach beyond the state of Georgia. That drive kicked off in 2018 with the establishment of the Appalachian Regional Port, an intermodal facility nearly 400 miles from Savannah, equipped to handle 100,000 containers a year.

The concept gathered momentum in recent years, and the congestion at major ports has added an additional push. This summer, both Long Beach and Oakland ports signed partnership agreements with the Utah Inland Port Authority, and in both cases the primary focus is on boosting flows between the ports and the inland facility, and shifting boxes off the docks quicker.

Inland terminals have been called release valves for congested ports, which suggests relevance only in times of extraordinary throughput, but some companies are treating them as longer-term options. Earlier this year, Canadian Tire, one of Canada’s largest retailers, acquired a 25% stake in Ashcroft Terminal, an inland port some 300km from Vancouver.


Related Posts


Finance & Economy
Shipping News

Wartsila: A challenging year with strong annual growth

HIGHLIGHTS FROM OCTOBER–DECEMBER 2022 Order intake decreased by 24% to EUR 1,638 million (2,150)Service order intake increased by 6% to EUR 791 million (747)Net sales...

Hapag-Lloyd achieves extraordinarily strong result in its anniversary year 2022

On the basis of preliminary and unaudited figures, Hapag-Lloyd has concluded the 2022 financial year – in which it celebrated its 175th anniversary –...

Bahri sees profits soar in 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Bahri has seen its profits soar by over 400% in 2022 following a boom in tanker rates, boosting the shipping giant’s oil...

Euronav Files Second Arbitration Against Frontline

Euronav NV hereby informs its shareholders that on 28 January 2023 it has filed an application request for arbitration on the merits in relation...

Oaktree looking at block sale of existing shares in Hafnia Limited

OCM Luxembourg Chemical Tankers S.à r.l. which is ultimately controlled by funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management L.P. (the "Seller") has retained Fearnley Securities,...

Luxury Cruise Market Holds Much Promise For Greek & East Med Hidden Gem Destinations

The appeal of Greece and the East Mediterranean as an ideal region for luxury...

Baltic index falls to over 2-year low as larger vessel rates slide

The Baltic Exchange’s dry bulk sea freight index fell to its lowest since June...

Baltic index logs worst month in 3 years

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index registered its biggest monthly percentage fall in...

Baltic index snaps 9-day losing streak as panamax, supramax rates rise

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index snapped its nine-session losing streak on Tuesday,...

Cyprus shipping making waves – report

Cyprus shipping, the steady driver of the economy, is sailing for better times, having...

Luxury Cruise Market Holds Much Promise For Greek & East Med Hidden Gem Destinations

The appeal of Greece and the East Mediterranean as an ideal region for luxury cruising will be one of the main highlights of the...

Port of Los Angeles proposes cruise terminal project

The Port of Los Angeles is inviting comments on a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) for the future development of a new Outer Harbor...

Port of Long Beach Closes 2022 with Second-Busiest Year

The Port of Long Beach marked its second-busiest year on record by moving 9.13 million twenty-foot equivalent units in 2022, allowing for a return...

Hapag-Lloyd AG acquires share in J M Baxi Ports & Logistics Limited

Hapag-Lloyd AG signed a binding agreement today under which it will acquire 35% of J M Baxi Ports & Logistics Limited (JMBPL) from a...

Nigeria opens ‘game changer’ billion-dollar deep seaport

Nigeria opened a billion-dollar Chinese-built deep seaport in Lagos on Monday, which is expected to ease congestion at the country’s ports and help it...