California Shipping Crisis


Acute labour shortage has hit California shipping badly, especially in ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Lack of labours and trucks have severely affected the unloading of cargo that has led to an unprecedented pile up of vessels waiting to be unloaded.  These two ports move some 40 percent of container imports in the USA.

Describing the scale of the crisis, the head of the American Trucking Associations said that the whole transport system across the USA was short of 80,000 truck drivers. There were some 100 vessels waiting to be unloaded in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which is nearly six times the average number of waiting ships before the pandemic. 

The chief of the California Trucking Association has called for a state of emergency to be declared in the state to counter the chaos at the ports.

"I think we are in a situation in California where a state of emergency related to the ports is certainly something that should be considered," Shawn Yadon, CEO of the California Trucking Association told Fox News. 

Echoing sentiments of other experts Yadon said that every stakeholder, all along the supply chain needed to act fast to fix the crisis - from shipping, trucking, and rail to warehousing.

Of the 100 odd ships waiting, some 97 were container ships, carrying cargo that could potentially miss the holiday shopping season and have severe repercussions for businesses.

Pre pandemic the ports have seen a highest of 17 ships waiting to anchor, Kip Louttit, the head of the Marine Exchange told Business Insider.

In terminal s, containers are stacked up on the docks for weeks, waiting to be unloaded. Work has been hit hard due to a shortage of on-dock workers and truck drivers, leading to inordinate in this process.

Aware of the situation, the Biden administration has already announced that the LA port would be following a revised work schedule of the Long Beach port and shift to a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week time table. 

As a result neighbourhoods adjacent to the port complex has become a perpetual traffic jam, as trucks hauling cargo containers backed up 24X7 as workers try to break through an unprecedented backlog of ships waiting to be unloaded.

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