Following Weeks of Delays, East Coast Shipping en Route to Normalcy
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Cargo delivery from a major East Coast shipping port that has been jammed up for weeks is finally returning to acceptable levels and is on track to resume normal operations, shipping officials said last week.
The installation of a new computer operating system at the Port of New York and New Jersey by Maher Terminals, a port operator, caused massive delays in the delivery of goods. Maher and Navis LLC, which supplied the operating system, said in a joint statement that system components used in the container yard were not interacting properly.
The companies did not disclose the exact nature of the problem, but said they have scaled back certain automated components of the operating system for the time being. Once the flow of goods returns to normal, these components will be carefully phased back in, the companies said.
Problems have been occurring since June. Over the course of several weeks, millions of dollars of goods have been delayed or stuck at the port in Elizabeth, N.J., and some are still held up there, unable to reach retailers in time for seasonal promotions. Retailers have been forced to pay fees to trucking companies to compensate for the increased time and trouble, while shipping companies have been diverting container ships carrying Northeast-bound cargo to ports in Baltimore, Montreal and elsewhere, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
But Maher and Navis said the situation at the port has improved recently, a sign that their solution is working.
"We are confident that our modified plan is the right strategy for a permanent return to the volume and service levels our customers expect from Maher Terminals," Gary Cross, Maher's president and chief executive, said in the statement.
Maher will continue to use Navis's system, which is designed to allow for the tracking of containers of goods as they are offloaded from ships and transferred to trucks or trains. By implementing the system, Maher hopes to be prepared to handle the larger container ships that will be in service once the Panama Canal expansion opens next year.