CMA CGM reroutes to Oakland to avoid port congestion and delays

France-based container ship company CMS CGM has said that, given ongoing reports of lack of space on containerships bound for the US, as well as port congestion when the ships arrive, there had been increasing calls for actions to ease the bottlenecks.

CMA CGM announced the addition of 25 extra loaders operating on routes between Asia and the US These additional sailings would provide more than 114,500 teus in capacity and would be part of a roughly 40% increase in capacity that CMA CGM would providing to the US. The company will also deploy 13 larger vessels on the routes as part of the efforts to increase capacity.

CMA CGM will be rerouting ships sailing on a route from Shanghai and Yantian, China. A new route will start on February 12th which will use Oakland, California instead of Los Angeles. CMA CGM claimed that it would be the first and only Transpacific direct service from Asia to Oakland.

CMA CGM said that “Oakland is an ideal, reliable alternative to the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach for West Coast customers importing goods due to its easy access for existing California shippers, immediate berth availability, and fast rail connections into Chicago, Memphis, Dallas, and Kansas City. The expanded service will also include Seattle, allowing for new capacity to Pacific Northwest customers.”

The Group said that it continued “to work closely with US ports and other partners to actively develop and implement solutions to make the shipping and logistics supply chain seamless.”

The idea of rerouting away from the southern California bottleneck has been drawing increasing attention. FMC Commissioner Carl Bentzel has suggested using the Pacific Northwest ports as an alternative to the overloaded Southern California ports. CNBC reported that California officials wrote to the FMC calling for an investigation into the export policies of the shippers at the Southern California ports. They cited extensive delays that were undermining California’s agricultural industry.

Meanwhile, to address the ongoing container misallocation problem, CMA CGM Group reported that it had taken several measures to speed up the return of empty containers to Asia and to cut delays at the ports it serves in the US, Asia, and Europe.