The Port of Virginia has begun implementing several policies to ease congestion and address problems for truckers at the busy east coast port, according to a report by Virginia-based WAVY-TV.
Trucks entering the port have been backed up for days in long lines attempting to service the over-capacity port.
Many of the congestion issues began after the port was forced to close for four days last month due to bad weather. Five ships and as many as 7,000 containers were delayed until March, according to a JOC.com report. The backup was being compared to the recent shutdowns at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California that were caused by a labor dispute in February.
As a result, the Port of Virginia has implemented a few policies to try to ease the long waits, which can cost truckers hundreds of dollars as they wait. They have extended evening gate hours, added more weekend gate hours, made greater use of the adjacent Portsmouth Marine Terminal and made an agreement with labor partners to get more help at the port.
Port operators are insisting that the Port is not broken but simply operating beyond its maximum capacity, which is causing the delays. However, many truckers say that inefficiencies, which sometimes limit access to parts of the port to one truck at a time, are preventing truckers from getting to the backed-up cargo.
The long lines have also lowered the quality of life for some truckers, stuck in their vehicles for hours at a time without a way to use the restroom. An earlier WAVY-TV story had reported that urine and feces were littering the roads leading into the port. As a result, the port recently put in place several port-a-johns in key waiting locations.
“To me, they don’t think about the drivers, they don’t think about the customers, they don’t think about the businesses,” driver Darryl Robinson told WAVY-TV. “They don’ t take the truck drivers seriously.”