PORT OF LOS ANGELES, CA- If you’ve tried to buy parts for your vehicle or camper, electronic equipment or appliances, or even a new sink for your bathroom renovation over the past couple of months, you’ve likely been advised it may take weeks, if not months for your product to get in.
Much of that can be attributed to the number of cargo ships laying anchor off the coast of California or New York/New Jersey.
Let’s just call this another Biden crisis in nearly nine months of crises.
From the bungled Afghanistan withdrawal to skyrocketing energy and consumer goods prices and over to exploding crime and a border crisis of his own doing, Biden is dealing with one crisis piled on top of another.
Now we’re learning that container ships holding vital goods may have to wait at anchor for up to four weeks go make it into port to unload, Breitbart reports.
“Dozens of cargo ships anchored off the coasts of Los Angeles and New York face shocking wait times of up to four weeks and railyards and trucking routes are hopelessly clogged due to the lack of manpower to unload goods,” Breitbart said, citing a report in the Daily Mail.
A number of factors are playing into the situation, including increased consumer demand in the wake of the pandemic, as well as Americans spending less on travel and entertainment, while redirecting their spending toward toys, clothing, electronics and a large variety of other goods.
However draconian Covid restrictions have significantly impacted manpower and ports have been unable to unload the container ships.
“Global infrastructure was not designed to handle goods at such a rate,” one expert told the Daily Mail. “Supply chains are the artery who feeds our entire ecosystem. The government needs to intervene to stop this crisis immediately, or face increased inflation and unemployment, and economic breakdown—or face an end to global trade.”
The current logjam in the ports has billions of dollars-worth of toys, clothing, electronics, vehicles and furniture sitting in containers on container ships moored at sea.
The Mail reported they obtained footage which showed more than a dozen cargo ships at anchor outside New York’s harbor as they waited to come in and offload their cargo.
In addition, Ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, which are among the most popular shipping destinations in the U.S. have vessels awaiting that have been at anchor outside the respective harbors for four weeks.
Earlier last month, there were as many as 73 vessels waiting to unload, with 66 container ships still at anchor last week, the Marine Exchange of Southern California said as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
As CBS Los Angeles recently reported, there are approximately half a million shipping containers on ships at anchor off the California coast, with truck drivers waiting in line for hours waiting to pick up their scheduled shipments.
“I’ve got friends right now that are in line…from nine o’clock in the morning and they can’t pull the load yet,” said one truck driver, Walter Martinez in a statement to CBS News. “The people inside, they get paid by the hour, but not the drivers.”
Another driver, Oscar Ovalle said he waited from 8 p.m. until 3 a.m. the next day with only one crane offloading containers for 60 trucks.
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“They kicked me out because they leave at three o’clock,” railed Ovalle. “There’s one crane for 60 trucks and it’s ridiculous! They have two other cranes sitting.”
In New York and New Jersey, the Port Authority described their operations as “strong.”
‘There are no labor shortages or significant shipping backlogs,” according to a spokesman.
He added that as of last Friday, there were only three ships remaining anchored off the coast.
“Year to date, container vessels have averaged just 1.3 days at anchor. Dwell time has been running about twice normal throughout the pandemic. During September, and throughout the pandemic, the port has performed extraordinarily well in keeping the supply chain moving throughout region, as well as cargo bound for the Midwest via rail.
“It has remained open, operational, and fluid—a testament to the hard-working men and women of the International Longshoremen’s Association and the drayage truck drivers who have not missed a single day since the beginning of the pandemic and have been on the front lines keeping commerce moving.”
In Los Angeles, ports are expected to process a record 10.8 million containers this year alone, which will lead to a struggle in getting the products to consumers.
Mike Perdue, president of ILWU Local 63 told the Washington Post, “Our members are tired. Our members are feeling the pain of these COVID deaths.”
Twenty members of the ILWU died of COVID-19 during the pandemic, which has forced the union to hire new, and inexperienced workers to deal with the demand.
The logjam at the ports has also had a domino effect, with the Chicago railyards, one of the country’s largest at the size of 500 football fields, at one point backed up for 25 miles.
Meanwhile, at APM terminals, a 484-acre facility in Los Angeles, which has the largest container site in the Western Hemisphere, the managing director of the facility said the facility is struggling to keep up with the influx of products at the same time they are dealing with a shortage of workers.
“It’s a headache. Cargo is sitting here longer than planned,” said Steven Trombley, the facility’s managing director in a statement to the Post. “If I don’t get the cargo moving, then the next ship is not going to have space.”
Another issue, reflective of the coming inflation nightmare is the cost of shipping a container from China to the west coast of the U.S. Pre-pandemic, the cost per container was about $1,300. Now? About $35,000, or around 26 times more.
Some retailers have switched from sea transport to air transport, a much more expensive method of moving goods, costs which will no doubt be passed on to consumers. It has also resulted in increased congestion at airports, which has forced some retailers to charter aircraft to transport goods.
The Daily Mail noted the cost of chartering aircraft from Asia to the U.S. is approximately $2.5 million.
The situation with ports is causing concern that it could impact the Christmas shopping season, with some experts suggesting Americans should begin doing Christmas shopping now to make sure goods arrive in time.
A coalition of unions around the world have warned of an imminent collapse of the global transport system.
In an open letter last week, the groups warned that “fragmented and inconsistent pandemic restrictions around the world have thrown global shipping into chaos,” the Daily Mail reported.
“We are witnessing unprecedented disruptions and global delays and shortages on essential goods including electronics, food, fuel and medical supplies,” the groups warned.
The letter was signed by the union officials from IRU, the world road transport organization; IATA, the International Air Transport Association; ICS, the International Chamber of Shipping; and ITF, the International Transport Workers’ Federation.
The letter noted that due to “nearly two years’ worth of strain,” it was putting significant pressure on maritime and road transport workers, and also air crews.
“Flights have been restricted and aviation workers have faced the inconsistency of border, travel, restrictions, and vaccine restrictions/requirements,” the letter continued.
“Additional and systemic stopping at road borders has meant truck drivers have been forced to wait, sometimes weeks, before being able to complete their journeys and return home,” the workers said.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Port of LA, Gene Seroka is asking the Federal Reserve to help out with the current crisis.
“Over the last 10 years, the federal government and Congress have out-invested West Coast ports at a rate of 11 to one. That’s got to change, and with an infrastructure bill pending vote in Congress this week, we need all eyes on Los Angeles,’ he said. “This is what 10 years of under-investment looks like and we need to move forward.”
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