A NEW Jersey container yard is to start accepting Hapag-Lloyd’s empty boxes, part of the ocean carrier’s two-month effort to relieve a backlog of empties building up in the port of New York and New Jersey amid the ongoing import surge.
A spokeswoman for Hapag-Lloyd Johanna Stroex said container services firm Columbia Group should start taking in the carrier’s empty containers at its Elizabeth depot in the NY-NJ port this week. This comes after Hapag-Lloyd and Columbia signed an agreement in April and completed set-up of an electronic data interchange for dropping off and retrieving empties, reports IHS Media.
Hapag-Lloyd will soon start dispatching empties there but Columbia said it was still creating additional space for the carrier’s empty returns and should start accepting the containers by Tuesday or Wednesday.
Hapag-Lloyd and other carriers in THE Alliance have been looking for additional storage since the closure in February of the Ironbound Intermodal container yard in Newark, a major off-terminal site for the carriers to store their empties. Hapag-Lloyd said it was also storing empties with C&C Maintenance at its Newark depot.
In addition to the new storage depot, Hapag-Lloyd is sending two additional vessels, Dimitra C and S Santiago, to NY-NJ to sweep up empties this week and next. Those two vessels follow eight extra loaders that Hapag-Lloyd dispatched between March and April to sweep up empties from NY-NJ. Ms Stroex said the ocean carrier may send other vessels to NY-NJ to bring empties back to Asia.
A side effect of the import surge hitting NY-NJ, storing empty containers is an ongoing problem that motor carriers say is contributing to worsening efficiency in port trucking. The number of empties for export at the NY-NJ port reached a new high in March, reaching 267,542 TEU and accounting for just over one-third of the total volume handled during the month.