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Los Angeles and Long Beach ports: with unprecedented delays

The economic reactivation and new consumption habits caused some supply difficulties, which translated into a shortage of products and a rise in prices due to different factors, such as the saturation of Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports, main trade routes in the United States.

In recent months we have witnessed online commerce’s exponential growth caused by confinement. Still, thanks to the advance of vaccination against COVID-19, the authorities have eased trade restrictions to promote global economic reactivation. Businesses are at a critical point in product demand, with coming milestones like Black Friday and consumers’ holiday shopping suggesting the same buying behavior.

However, this economic reactivation has suffered some supply setbacks, mainly in Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports, responsible for handling 40% of the containers entering the United States. These ports have reported a lack of carriers and trucks and are therefore suffering an unprecedented collapse.

Nowadays, these ports deal with long cargo ships waiting to dock and unload the merchandise, causing delays of up to 12 days. In the same way, some of the carriers who take the loads to their destination must wait around 10 hours to pick up the shipments, which are often not fully delivered.

Regarding this situation, the Vice President of Supply Chain Policies of the US Chamber of Commerce, John Drake, has confirmed that this shortage of products and delays are mainly due to the lack of chassis. Without forgetting that the country lost around 100,000 truckers during the pandemic due to the closure of transportation companies.

“This is mainly the reason we are seeing these containers accumulate in ports because there is not the capacity (drivers, port workers, and warehouses) to move the volume of merchandise that is coming in,” Drake said.

An instant solution

Faced with this collapse of operations, US President Joe Biden said that the port authorities would solve this problem immediately. He announced that Los Angeles and Long Beach ports would remain open and in operation 24/7.

This action, according to Biden, “has the potential to change the game rules” in an industry that is key to the day-to-day operation of the United States.

Some experts agree that this is an interim arrangement since it is about solving specific problems in supply chains. That can become functional and not be counterproductive in the short and long term for companies looking for a solution to their supply problems and keeping their operation flowing.

At this point, proper logistics and the operation of third parties are crucial to meet the growing online commerce demand, streamline processes, and avoid supply chain problems since it is a globally unleashed situation.

At Woodward Logistics, we understand these challenges, and our mission is to safeguard our customers’ operations. Please don’t wait for external difficulties to jeopardize the continuity of your business. Rely on our experience and infrastructure and get ready to see your company grow and go beyond borders.