Though the United States is economy is taking a $2 billion a day hit because of the current lockout at 29 West Coast ports, truckers could stand to benefit from a spike in freight demand once those ports reopen.
Interpool, a truck trailer and intermodal container leasing company, Points out trucks will be called upon in large numbers to clear the backlog of freight when the lockout ends.
"Shippers hurt by the delay will need to move goods in containers directly to their destinations by truck," said Interpool chairman & CEO Martin Tuchman. "While rail shipment is cost efficient, it is not fast enough to relieve manufacturers whose operations are at, or near, a standstill."
Tuchman said orders for Princeton, NJ-based Interpool's chassis have increased rapidly in the past few days as shippers prepare for an end to the work stoppage. He said that the just-in-time delivery systems that manufacturers rely on are very sensitive to disturbances in the distribution system. That's why truckers could benefit the most once the port lockout ends.
"Manufacturers rely upon absolute predictability in their deliveries. Now, however, there is little warehoused inventory to provide a cushion against a critical break in the supply chain," Tuchman said. "As a metric, we estimate that three months of recovery are required for every week the ports are closed. Accordingly, we anticipate heightened demand for chassis to continue until past the end of the year."