Drivers start Miami terminal boycott

Drivers for South Florida drayage companies have begun a boycott against the Port of Miami Terminal Operating Company (POMTOC) in protest at slow turn times (image is for illustrative purposes only) Drivers for South Florida drayage companies have begun a boycott against the Port of Miami Terminal Operating Company (POMTOC) in protest at slow turn times (image is for illustrative purposes only)

Drivers for South Florida drayage companies have begun a boycott against the Port of Miami Terminal Operating Company (POMTOC) in protest at slow turn times which have left truckers and beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) with expensive penalties.

According to JOC.com, independent owner-operators, who said they were tired of delays that in recent months have lasted as long as several hours, commenced the boycott late last week.

Drayage operators claimed that although a number of terminals at Miami and Port Everglades have witnessed delays of differing severity and duration in recent months, POMTOC had been targeted by drivers as it was the terminal with the longest turn times.

Pepe Alvarez, dispatcher at First Coast Logistics’ Miami office, told JOC.com that turn times of three hours at the terminal had been common, with some cases seeing turn times as long as eight hours, meaning that drivers could only complete one trip a day.

Mr Alvarez explained that for some moves, his company has to take a box out of the port, store it overnight and deliver it to the customer the next day, meaning that a single move takes two days.

“Right now, there are no delays because nobody is going in. That’s it in a nutshell,” he commented.

Additionally, supervisor at Viking Transport Services Gabriel Torres told JOC.com that his company’s drivers have had waiting times as long as three to four hours for picking up a container and times as long as two to three hours for exiting POMTOC.

The delays have also been creating demurrage charges for late pickup of cargo, as well as detention charges for late return of equipment.

Mr Alvarez, according to JOC.com, estimated that he had $10,000 in demurrage charges to pay this month.

Vice president at Worldwide Logistics Don Hardy told the website that importers also receive penalties for not meeting delivery schedules of big-box retailers.

The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is planning on holding hearings from 16 to 17 January regarding a shipper-led coalition’s complaint about the imposition of congestion-related fees because of high volume, labour, weather or other factors outside of a BCO or trucker’s control.

It is unclear what has caused the delays, though Miami has suffered from periodic flare-ups of congestion in recent years.

The port has been dealing with off-schedule arrivals of bigger ships and also saw a backlog of cargo following Hurricane Irma in September.

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