Ships now racing to anchor at overloaded ports, claims second mate

Second mate Bryan Boyle has told Business Insider US that vessels at some US ports were now “racing to anchor” in order to minimize their wait outside ports for a slot.

He said in a YouTube video that efforts to get into ports had become increasingly competitive as they competed for spots in line. He claimed that what was once a carefully scheduled process had become a free-for-all for some. “The ports are so far behind schedule that many, like Savannah and Houston, have begun using a first-come, first-serve policy,” Boyle told Business Insider, adding that “in the past, when ships were going between nearby ports they would slow down to save on fuel and they’d be able to go right in without even having to anchor. Now, it’s about dropping the hook as soon as possible so you can get in the rotation to wait for about another two weeks, maybe more.”

Boyle has been operating as relief for cargo ship crew in ports near Charleston and Savannah for the past few weeks – meaning he takes on part of the ship’s watch rotation and assists with cargo operations so that the crew can avoid rest-hour violations.

In the YouTube video Boyle breaks down the supply-chain crisis while aboard a Maersk ship that was waiting outside the Port of Savannah for 10 days.

“Even when we finally get into port and get the cargo off the ships, there’s nowhere to store it all,” Boyle said.

“We’re burning more fuel to get here and ships are also operating at higher speeds to make up lost time crossing the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean”, Boyle said in the video, highlighting the impact on the environment of the current supply chain dislocation.