Maersk reports Canada’s west coast ports still slow

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by Emily Atkins

The ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert are among the most congested according to Maersk North America.

In a customer update published January 5th, the global liner company said its ships are waiting six days at Vancouver and seven at Prince Rupert. No other West Coast ports have waiting times of more than three days, and only Houston, on the Gulf coast, has a vessel lineup on two to 10 days.

Port Vancouver’s tracking app showed four container ships at berth and one at anchor on January 9th. One Maersk vessel was among these, and it had a berth. Nine grain ships were at berth and 20 remained at anchor awaiting export grain.

Maersk also notes it is experiencing high impact delays at the yards for both ports and for rail loadings at Vancouver. Yard utilization is over 100 percent in Prince Rupert,  at at 80 percent in Vancouver. The average rail dwell time at Vancouver is 12.5 days at the moment, and improving, Maersk said.

CN is providing extra capacity to help clear imports through the West Cast ports. Maersk said it is working with CP and Centerm – which is at 88 percent capacity – in Vancouver to clear dwelling import containers. According to the port’s weekly report, CP had almost 42,000 feet of containers at Centerm that has been dwelling for five to seven days. Meanwhile, CN had 180,000 feet of containers dwelling more than seven days on the dock.

Winter weather in Vancouver has been blamed for some of the delays.

On the trucking side  of Maersk’s intermodal operations, the company reports that Montreal has good capacity, but with a “limited capacity for empty returns”. Likewise, in Toronto empty container returns are also an issue.