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Sept.18, 2017

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bookings, thus avoiding rolls. The reason they are waiting is to accept the higher-paying con- tainers," a BCO said. He added that it is taking 14 to 17 days to get on a vessel now, compared with four to seven days last year at this time. This means some carriers are playing the spot market. As space tightens, carriers will put on hold acceptance of some bookings, often from customers that have signed service contracts with rates that are below the spot rates. Carri- ers then shop the slots to BCOs and NVOCCs, who are willing to pay the higher spot market rates. "It's a game carriers play," one executive said with a chuckle. PEAK SEASON TESTS US EXPORTERS US exporters using West Coast ports are paying extra to work around shorter delivery windows at congested marine terminals as the beginning of the export season converges with the peak of the import season. "There's defi nitely congestion at the ports, partly because of the alli- ances. It's still there. It's still an issue," said Bruce Abbe, executive director of the Midwest Shippers Association. Exporters are responding to these conditions by hiring extra truckers to ensure suffi cient capacity when their shipments surge, they are paying higher freight rates to carriers that offer longer delivery windows, and they are picking up their equipment in advance of delivery even if it means incurring extra charges, accord- ing to a survey by the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC), which has 2,100 direct and indirect members, and Journal of Commerce interviews with exporters. The pain points could be for a harbinger of what exporters will face at the height of the peak import season in late Sep- tember through October. When marine terminals are overwhelmed with import cargo, as often happens during the busy autumn months, termi- nal operators restrict exporters from delivering their containers to the terminals until shortly before vessel departure, because there is little room available to store the exports. When these Spotlight THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE 7 Knowledge is the Ultimate Power. JOC Insights is a monthly economic and trade outlook report covering all modes of transportation. 19036

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