Port director warns that the shipping industry is in “crisis mode”

  • Long Beach Port Executive Director Mario Cordero said the industry is in “crisis mode”.
  • In September, debris broke several records at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
  • Long Beach Port operates 24/7 hours of operation, but this may not be enough to combat the problem.

A historic backlog of cargo ships in Southern California has brought the supply chain and shipping industry into crisis, warned Mario Cordero, General Manager of Long Beach Port, this week.

Cordero, who oversees one of the busiest ports in the country, advised people to start Christmas shopping as soon as possible due to the disruptions in the supply chain. The port will move around 20 million containers this year, more than ever, said Cordero Fox business. Consumers will definitely feel this as businesses across the board – from raw materials to durable goods, electronics, furniture, and auto parts – face shortages and delays.

The supply chain is definitely disrupted and has been for some time,” said Cordero of the point of sale. “The situation is in crisis mode.”

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports broke multiple records for the number of ships at the sites as well as the number of cargo ships waiting to dock. Since then, the number of ships has decreased slightly, but the ports continue to experience unprecedented congestion. On Tuesday, the ports hosted 144 ships – including 66 container ships that were waiting at anchor or in drift areas off the coast, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California. Prior to the pandemic, ports typically waited an average of zero ship to dock in ports, but now ships wait weeks for unloading.

The cargo from the ships currently anchored in California’s ports – which handle nearly half of all U.S. imports – is unlikely to be seen until late October or November, says Brian Whitlock, senior director analyst at Gartner, said on LinkedIn.


Associated press

To fix the record delays, the port of Long Beach did moved this month to increase their operating hours up to 24 hours from Monday to Thursday. While the two ports in LA and Long Beach are often counted as one port due to their proximity, the slightly larger port of Los Angeles did not follow suit and instead decided to keep its existing opening hours, which do not include 24/7 work .

Cordero said Long Beach plans to use its extended hours as a pilot program for 24/7 operations – similar to many ports in Asia and Europe – but has so far not been able to do so due to a labor shortage across the port worker industry for truckers and warehouse workers.

Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka said CNBC’s Squawk Box on Tuesday that extending the port’s operating hours will do little to resolve the problem. He said that around 30% of trucking appointments go unused every day because the port needs full coordination with shipping companies and warehouses.

“Since the pandemic started, we’ve had dock workers six days a week, but it’s truck drivers and warehouse workers that we need to empower,” Seroka said.

The confusion in the supply chain has already resulted in bottlenecks and price increases across the country. On Sunday, Nike said there weren’t enough sneakers for the holidays. Last week, Costco announced a limit on the amount of

Toilet paper
and packages from water buyers could buy.

Cordero told Fox Business he doesn’t see any decline in consumer demand until the end of next year, as vacation demand, as well as companies’ efforts to replenish inventories, are pushing the global supply chain at a time when it is still battling COVID-19 stalemate in Asia , continue to strain.

About Christine Geisler

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