L.A./Long Beach must clear congestion and regain trust of shippers

"The challenge is going to be re-earning the trust of the shippers," said Mark Hirzel, president of the Los Angeles Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association.

Fitch Ratings published a statement noting that although the ports’ credit ratings were not hurt by the recent labor conflict, reliability is important in the shipping business, and the 2002 lockout and 2012 clerical workers’ strike have hurt the reputation of the ports.

"With each labor event, some diverted cargo has not returned," Fitch reported. In Fitch’s assessment, roughly half of the imported cargo coming in to Los Angeles and Long Beach is bound for local markets.

Regarding congestion, the ports received permission last week from the Federal Maritime Commission to work together to find workable solutions.

Long Beach port spokesman Michael Gold said this would allow the ports to work on a cargo tracking system similar to what UPS or FedEx customers get for ground shipments.

The Port of Los Angeles announced that three chassis firms have agreed to create a "gray chassis pool," making it easy for drivers to use the trailers interchangeably, without having to worry about who owns the equipment.

As of Friday morning, there were 32 ships — 23 of these container vessels — waiting to be unloaded off the port complex, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California.