The more we learn about the supply chain, the worse the story becomes. President Biden “solved the problem” by telling our ports to stay open 24 hours a day and to ship stuff at night.
But then we learn that there are 60 ships currently anchored off of the Port of Los Angeles waiting to be unloaded, but there is a severe shortage of trucks to move the cargo. Port officials say it will be the summer of 2022 before all sixty ships are unloaded. Think about that for a minute. It will be the summer of 2022 to unload the ships that are anchored there right now. Many of the ships are from China and loaded with television sets, computers, appliances that will not be on our shelves until next July. So Christmas shelves may be bare.
Then we learn the reason there is a shortage of trucks. California’s new environmental law requires all semi-tractors to be current with new California emissions standards. Consequently, trucks cannot be older than 3 years if they are to pick up or deliver containers at those ports. This issue wipes out approximately half of the fleet of trucks used to move containers in/out of the port. My Alexia tells me there are up to 11,000 containers on a container ship, so the 60 container ships anchored in California need up to 660,000 trucks to unload them.
The shipping delays are not limited to California. Dozens of ships are forced to anchor off the coast of New York as they wait to dock in the country’s second-largest port — adding to the US supply chain crunch. A surge of imports and short-staffed ports have cause this logjam. When questioned about Christmas deliveries, Jen Psaki rebuffed the reporter; “We are not the postal service.”
And just when we think that things can’t get worse, they do. We now learn that the Secretary of Transportation, Steve Buttigieg has been on paid paternity leave since mid-August and only recently returned to Washington to celebrate “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” on Columbus Day. His advice on the shortages seems to be to buy your Christmas presents early this year.
House Oversight Committee Republicans sent a letter to the Biden Administration urging them to address and find solutions to the ‘ongoing supply chain crisis.’ The letter says the disruptions in the supply chains were supposed to be “temporary,” but noted that “labor shortages and growing backlogs” were making it more likely that these issues would continue into 2022, delaying a long list of necessary goods for Americans. The letter continues, “The Biden Administration appears unwilling to recognize the growing supply chain crisis.”
With 60 cargo ships anchored off of the Port of Los Angeles that won’t be unloaded until June 2022, and a Secretary of Transportation that does not seem to have any answers, we can expect empty shelves not only at Christmas but everywhere this year.