One hundred twenty-three massive transatlantic ships Monday were waiting to unload cargo at California’s Los Angeles and Long Beach and ports.
According to Marine Exchange, 123 cargo ships were waiting to unload goods onto the southern California docks, which are responsible for 40 percent of all shipped containers to the United States. Of the 123 ships, 62 were container ships, which includes 35 anchored or loitering and 27 at berth.
Ship Report 12/6: 123 ships inside 40 mi of LA/LB including 68 loitering or anchored & 55 at berths. Of the 123, 62 are container ship including 35 at anchor or loitering & 27 at berth. 15 vessels loitering; 8 container, 4 bulk & 3 tankers. pic.twitter.com/aGMPJZq8yb
— Marine Exchange (@MXSOCAL) December 7, 2021
Monday’s mark remains in the mid-hundreds after 163 ships in November were waiting to unload goods. The number of ships delayed outside the ports has not been reported to be below 100 since September.
The backlog of ships waiting to dock is likely exacerbating the supply chain crisis and increasing inflation. A United Nations report estimated shipping costs have increased ten percent for some consumer good products, impacting the cost of Christmas gifts. Prices of computers, toys, clothing, and televisions could reach 17 percent more expensive than last year, Breitbart News reported.
As ports are jammed, truck drivers have vented their frustration that it takes nearly eight hours to retrieve freight at the ports, which reduces their productivity and paycheck amount. As a result, the trucking companies are reportedly short about 80,000 drivers.
Truck drivers, who are often first-generation immigrants, face difficult employment situations. Breitbart News reported:
If the truckers are late on a payment, become sick, or do not have money to repair the truck, the trucking companies fire the driver and repossess the truck, along with any equity the driver has invested, USA Today reported.
The drivers who are not fired “sometimes end up owing money to their employers” and are unable to get out from under the debt. Unable to repay their employer, drivers essentially work for free, never able to earn much money.
The Biden administration has responded to the supply chain crisis by opening an investigation into businesses, and not itself, a tactic from the Obama era that displaces responsibility on the administration to the private sector.
The businesses under scrutiny include some of the world’s largest: Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Associated Wholesale Grocers, McLane, Procter & Gamble, Tyson Foods, and Kraft Heinz.
The investigation will reportedly expose the private sector’s supply chain weak points to blame companies for inflation. The businesses have 45 days from December 1 to comply with the probe.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø