Maher Terminals in the Port of New York and New Jersey will extend container free time and freeze demurrage charges through Wednesday as it clears a backlog caused by computer glitches during the changeover to a new terminal operating system, CEO Gary Cross said.
The charges have been suspended since Friday, when Maher had a scheduled closing for implementation of the new system. The decision on when to resume the charges will be based on a day-by-day review, Cross told The Journal of Commerce.
“We don’t want to do anything to disadvantage our customers,” Cross said. “We’re all working to get things back to normal as soon as possible.”
Maher said in a noon e-mail update to customers that congestion at truck gates had been cleared but that “periods of heavy traffic should be expected throughout the day.”
Some truckers complain that delays were continuing. They said drivers were still enduring lengthy waits at the terminal, saddling them with costs of chassis rental and operating expenses that they cannot recover.
Long truck lines clogged roads outside Maher after the largest container terminal in the Port of New York and New Jersey reopened at 6 a.m. today following Monday’s rough start to implementation of the new operating system.
Monday’s problems came during the final step in the phased implementation of a Navis operating system. The new system replaced in-house technology that Maher had used for years.
The phase-in began two months ago at Maher’s off-dock depots for empty containers and chassis. The system later was introduced at the company’s main terminal, where it was used for Bermuda Container Line’s small operation, and at Maher’s rail terminal.
Maher closed its gates Friday to inventory the terminal’s containers and prepare for this week’s full cutover to the new system. The new system was used for vessel operations Saturday and for additional work Sunday on a limited scale.
Full operations using the new system had been scheduled to resume Monday, but a glitch in the new system forced a halt to a delivery of export loads.
When Maher reopened this morning, truck lines stretched far beyond the terminal gates. At least once, port authority police temporarily halted delivery of inbound loads in order to keep roads open.
In an e-mail notice to customers, Maher said urged customers to avoid unnecessary truck trips to the terminal until the backlog is cleared.
Cross declined to estimate when the backlog would end, but said Maher is sensitive to the needs of truckers and other users. He compared the situation to the congestion that often results after terminals are closed for consecutive days around holidays or storms.
The Maher CEO praised International Longshoremen’s Association workers for working in heavy rain Friday to inventory the terminal’s containers and prepare for the new system.
He also praised Navis, which has installed dozens of terminal operating systems at major container ports around the world. “The support from Navis has been super, both locally and at their head office,” he said.
Cross said Maher saw the need for a new terminal operating system to handle expected growth in traffic following the raising of the Bayonne Bridge and the expansion of the Panama Canal.
“This puts us in position to handle the increased volume that will be coming at us,” he said. “It’s something we had to do, and it was better to do it sooner than later.”