Five days after President Biden announced operating two California ports 24/7, as many as 200,000 shipping containers are stranded off the coast waiting to dock in Los Angeles, the port director said Monday.
“We have about two weeks’ worth of work sitting at anchor right now,” Gene Seroka told CNN. “The question right now is how do we segment this cargo.”Cargo ships are seen lined up outside the Port of Los Angeles.
Ports worldwide are congested as the global economy bounces back from pandemic slowdowns and consumers seek goods and commodities. A dearth of ships and containers are hampering efforts to move merchandise around, and consumer prices are soaring.
Last Wednesday, Biden said the White House had helped broker an agreement for the Port of Los Angeles to become a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week operation, part of an effort to relieve supply chain bottlenecks and move stranded container ships that are driving prices higher for U.S. consumers.
Long Beach, which also fell under Biden’s agreement, has already been operating nonstop for about three weeks.
Long Beach and Los Angeles ports take in 40% of all shipping containers entering the U.S. Operations have been snagged not only by a rebound in demand but also by the coronavirus delta variant, a lack of vaccine access in some countries, and shortages of shipping containers and truck drivers, according to KCBS-TV.
With or without intervention, many experts foresee months, if not years, of shipping delays, KCBS reported.
Biden assured consumers that the nighttime operations would help break the logjam and reduce shipping delays for toasters, sneakers, bicycles, cars and other goods, as The Associated Press noted.
“With holidays coming up, you might be wondering if the gifts you plan to buy will arrive on time,” Biden said. “Today we have some good news: We’re going to help speed up the delivery of goods all across America.”