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A Record 111 Cargo Ships Anchored off California’s Busiest Ports

A Record 111 Cargo Ships Anchored off California’s Busiest Ports

Supply chain issues appear to be here to stay.

The number of container ships stuck off the coast of Southern California has reached a fun, new record.

According to data from the Marine Exchange, a total of 111 container ships are bobbing at sea around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, waiting to dock and unload. That breaks the previous record of 108 vessels reported on October 21.

The two ports remain clogged despite efforts to speed up the processing of containers amid a surge in consumer demand for goods. The White House announced a shift to an around-the-clock schedule in October and a new looming threat of fines for leaving containers on the docks for several days.

A global supply chain crisis caused by a fall in shipping demand during the early days of the pandemic in 2020 followed by a surge at the end of that year has led to delays and blockages across the world.

Of course, that is not stopping the Biden administration or its media minions from claiming the problem is “easing.”

The Port of Los Angeles’ decision to impose fines for lingering cargo containers was “a last resort,” but it’s already showing signs of having the desired effect, Gene Seroka, the port’s executive director, told CNBC on Tuesday.

The policy, which kicked in Monday, was announced Oct. 25 by the Port of Los Angeles and the adjoining Port of Long Beach as part of an effort to ease congestion due to the Covid pandemic. Ocean carriers will be charged $100 per day for each truck-bound container that’s left for nine days or more. Fines for containers that will leave the facility by rail start accruing on their sixth day.

“We’ve tried diplomacy. We’ve tried collaboration, operations meetings all around, and nothing has moved the needle just yet,” Seroka said in a “Squawk Box” interview. “This is a last resort and one I didn’t want to have to take, but we’re starting to see movement.”

“Folks are coming to the table with these daily and twice-daily video meetings to try to figure out what their plans are — liner shippers, importers — and how we’re going to move this cargo away and get the others moving forward,” said Seroka, who has led North America’s busiest container port since 2014.

Blue collar jobs have been derided for years, and America’s young people have been pressured to attend college instead of going to a good trade school. The supply chain crisis we are now facing is the unintended consequence of academic prioritization over practical skills.

Truck drivers have been in short supply for years, but a wave of retirements combined with those simply quitting for less stressful jobs is exacerbating the supply chain crisis in the United States, leading to empty store shelves, panicked holiday shoppers and congestion at ports. Warehouses around the country are overflowing with products, and delivery times have stretched to months from days or weeks for many goods.

A report released last month by the American Trucking Associations estimated that the industry is short 80,000 drivers, a record number, and one the association said could double by 2030 as more retire.

Supply-chain problems stem from a number of factors, including an extraordinary surge in demand for goods and factory shutdowns abroad. But the situation has been compounded by a shortage of truckers and deteriorating conditions across the transportation sector, which have made it even harder for consumers to get the things they want when they want them.

Unless there is a big push for training truckers, I worry that the supply chain problems will continue for some time.


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And it’s going to get far, FAR worse.

Biden’s bullshit about ‘adding a shift’ to the port is just that – bullshit. The problem is not the port. Most of the port crew is sitting on their hands because the problem is getting containers OUT of the port on trucks. Another shift is just going to throw a huge amount of money down the drain to no impact so they can act like WE’RE DOING SOMETHING. So, a normal Democrat bullshit ‘solution’.

Truckers have been fleeing California’s insane regulations for years now.

And the situation isn’t ‘easing’. THEY’VE DONE LITERALLY NOTHING to get more trucks and truckers into the ports It’s only getting worse.

    murkyv in reply to Olinser. | November 11, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    It doesn’t help that California and other western states with ports have legalized pot and made it harder to find drivers that can pass a piss test

    txvet2 in reply to Olinser. | November 11, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    In defense of the truckers who are actually working, there have been complaints of a massive slowdown by LA port workers, possibly driven by union discontent with the number of workers the ports are employing, with claims that in some cases it may take a crane operator several hours to load a single container on a truck.

    henrybowman in reply to Olinser. | November 11, 2021 at 6:46 pm

    They’ve actually done literally NEGATIVE things to get more trucks into the ports.
    You now can’t even drive a perfectly serviceable truck through California if it’s “too old.”
    “Unacceptable emissions,” you see!
    Truckers, like pork producers, RVers, and gun owners, are simply blowing California off.
    I live practically next door to it, and I avoid crossing the border like it’s Lava Floor.

    docduracoat in reply to Olinser. | November 12, 2021 at 7:03 am

    It’s plain that autonomous trucks are coming.
    You would be foolish to become a truck driver now.


USSR had a “command economy” which was not based on free market but rather based on political imperatives. How long before Biden Administration gets frustrated and starts a form of command economy. ?

I think Biden may order the military to start trucking containers from the ports. And then, why wouldn’t he use the military to achieve other goals ?

He bought into the bullshit that he will be the next FDR. I would therefore not be surprised if he used the military.

The Soviet economy blew up in 1991 and the USSR disintergrated. Biden is replicating the mistakes of the USSR and the result will be the same – except this time on the USA. Putin must be laughing at us.

Let’s Go Brandon.

I saw interviews with truckers saying they were having to wait several hours to pick up containers at the ports. Also, I’ve seen the drone photos showing hundreds of trucks waiting to pick up loads.

That suggests that truckers are not the rate-determining step in the movement of goods from ships to stores. The slowest step must be either the unloading of the ships or the movement of containers to the waiting trucks.

Does anyone have further information on what part of the process is the slowest step?

    Olinser in reply to OldProf2. | November 11, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    That’s after the idiots decided that the ‘solution’ was to massively high-stack the containers.

    So now they stacked new containers on top of old containers, and the truck drivers they have are having to excessively wait while they unstack them to get at the bottom ones.

    It’s a clusterfuck caused by nobody being in charge and nobody having BASIC logistical planning ability to find a solution.

    CommoChief in reply to OldProf2. | November 11, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    It seems to be an interrelated problem of:
    1. Putting containers onto the flat beds at ports
    2. Driver shortage (largely self induced by trucking industry wages/hours and regulatory burdens both State and Federal)
    3. lack of ability/willingness at receiving warehouse destination to accommodate 24 hour receipt
    4. the movement of goods from warehouse to retailers is hampered by willingness to receive goods 24/7.

    The just in time delivery model works to move goods in a steady flow. It isn’t designed to accommodate no goods today with twice as much tomorrow. That interrupted flow can be overcome in temporary window like a hurricane but not for prolonged periods as is the case today. The actions of many State governments in shutting down rest areas and onerous Covid vax rules for entry into a restaurant or lodging caused many to exit the industry or move to local/regional routes. In addition many drivers moved on either retiring or changing careers during the first months of the Covid economy lockdown when hours were cut and the actions of some States/localities was actively hostile to them.

    The bottom line is that the employers at every step in the supply chain will need to commit to paying wages for overtime and 24/7 operations, govt at every level will need to suspend regulatory burdens while the employees themselves and their unions will need to become cooperative v exploitive. Considering that during WWII some long shore men resisted adapting their work schedule to accommodate wartime needs I am not optimistic that they are willing to do so in the current situation.

Well golly! That’s just terrible. I wonder how many ships with American made supplies are waiting to be unloaded in China.

Any idea what the average number of containers is per ship ?
I realize that might be hard to ascertain, but would give us some idea of the size of the trucking problem
Just to get some idea of total number waiting to be off loaded – that number plus the ones already off-loaded and waiting to be trucked -has to be huge !

    Olinser in reply to Lewfarge. | November 11, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    Depends on the size (there are several different types and sizes), whether they are fully loaded, and how much weight is in the containers (ships DO have a maximum weight load), but the number my buddy that works in a port always used to say was if you estimate 1000 containers a ship then you’ll be within a reasonable ballpark.

      Lewfarge in reply to Olinser. | November 11, 2021 at 1:58 pm

      Thank you !
      Sure seems like we have a really huge problem, when you throw in the limited number of trucks that currently allowed to operate in commiefornia !

    murkyv in reply to Lewfarge. | November 11, 2021 at 3:56 pm

    The largest ships are carrying as much as 24,ooo TEU (twenty foot equivalent units)

    Charleston SC just recently started servicing 16,000 TEU ships

    Walmart and Costco have started using smaller, refitted ships carrying their own stuff and can take advantage of of the smaller ports that aren’t swamped

HEADLINE: Supply chain crisis gives once invisible shipping industry record profits and new adversaries

“The cascade of problems has resulted in extraordinary earnings for shipping giants like Denmark’s Maersk, France’s CMA CGM, Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd and China’s Cosco, which were on track to reap a decade’s worth of gross profit in just one year.”

Translation: Our business model cannot service its customers amid clogged ports, backlogged trucking, sky rocketting costs, and economies crippled from lockdowns, but we are GOLDEN with record profits.

Why are there no moral hazards for this global clusterfuck? Can someone explain this to me?

It’s intentional. How else to transform than to tear it down first?

Russ from Winterset | November 11, 2021 at 2:19 pm

From what I read at Instapundit today, part of the problem is the way inbound containers are loaded. In order to maximize capacity, they are all loaded by hand. No pallets, so they have to be unloaded by hand after leaving the port. Once they are unloaded, palletized and then reloaded for internal transport, then they proceed to the next step. Not exactly a model of efficiency, even before the Kung Flu hit.

This is purposeful. Do you think the economy supply chain and everything else he’s done is just shucks folk I missed judged?

Good Lord. Just two-days after our ‘esteemed’ Secretary of Transportation announced the end to ‘racist bridges,’ we find out that a RECORD NUMBER OF SHIPS are parked off the Port of Long Beach waiting to be emptied.

Sure is good this Administration has its priorities in order.

And there seems to be no inclination to move any of those backlogged ships to ports in Texas or Florida, where plenty of dock space is available. Of course that would involve a lot of upgrades/changes in infrastructure, but it’s clear that the western ports simply can’t handle the volume.

    Arminius in reply to txvet2. | November 11, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    It’s expensive to move ships through the Panama Canal,

    Another thing to consider.

    Not everybody can afford an entire container ship. Those shipping containers aren’t all going to the same place. Yes, major importers were already making plans for just this contingency,

    I apologize if I’m preaching to the choir.

      txvet2 in reply to Arminius. | November 12, 2021 at 1:00 am

      It’s also expensive to stay at anchor offshore LA, and given that most of the cargo is going to be distributed across the country anyway, it makes just as much sense to unload at a Gulf port as California. Of course the containers aren’t all going the same place and some rearrangement of infrastructure is necessary, but the Gulf Coast ports aren’t banning trucks more than a few years of age and our highway system is more diverse. BTW, Maersk has a significant relationship with the Chinese, so their interests aren’t strictly commercial.

    Arminius in reply to txvet2. | November 11, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    There was supposed to be a sequence.

“Supply-chain problems stem from a number of factors, including an extraordinary surge in demand for goods and factory shutdowns abroad”

That makes no sense. If there are factory shutdowns abroad where are the goods coming from that are clogging our ports?

    murkyv in reply to randian. | November 11, 2021 at 9:33 pm

    The 3 Shanghai ports alone have almost 150 of the big quay cranes to load containers. All the ports in California combined are nowhere near that capacity

    Yangshans newest port is fully autonomous.

    No drivers. No crane operators. No covid cleaning of transport machinery after every shift

The Dhimmi-crats are predictably the anti-Midas party — everything that they touch turns to excrement.

It’s amazing how the ports were running perfectly smoothly when the GOP was in charge; gas prices were low; domestic energy production was humming along; inflation was kept at normal rates; etc., etc..

The Dhimmi-crats are narcissistic and totalitarian incompetents; children. Incapable of competent management and governance at any level.

The Chinese ports aren’t the problem. Kali emissions controls are. A few years ago Kali raised the emissions limits for commercial trucks. Then they raised them again.

Owner/operators can’t deal with this crap. How many times are they going to have to buy new trucks? What do you think is going to happen if only 1/3 of the fleet can bring goods from San Pedro to Arizona?

And the bloody thing is, you can only make the air so clean. The air is clean. Enjoy it.

God, I hate Kali.

But, hey! Kali checked itself. And Kali is doing just fine. So says Gavin Newsome. Meanwhile San Frisco doesn’t have a homeless problem. It’s just perfect.

I’m just a racist because I don’t like walking on the turds. That’s the explanation for everything now.

I can’t take BART when I see my family. Because of the homeless.

The irony is there are 111 ships waiting to be unloaded but only one or two of them have anything we need.