Biden steps in as delays cripple supply chain

Nearly 60 cargo ships are stranded floating outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach – a symptom of a broken supply chain.

Port of Los Angeles truckers sometimes have to stand in line for hours just to pick up a container. But even then, there is nowhere to take them, because the warehouses are all full.

This is a big problem for drivers like Manases Gonzalez, who are paid by the truck, not by the hour. Gonzalez said he waited 7-9 hours to pick up a load – and he wasn’t paid for any of those hours.

Clearing the backlog could take months. Estimates indicate that it could take until the end of 2022 for things to return to normal, with ships entering a port, disembarking and departing without delay.

Supply chains
The containers are stacked at the Port of Los Angeles in Los Angeles on Friday, October 1, 2021.

Jae C. Hong / AP

At the end of the supply chain are store owners like Tony Jabuka, who has a bike shop down the street from a safeguarded port. When CBS News spoke to Jabuka a month ago, he was expecting an order for bikes he placed a year ago.

“All those kid’s bikes you’ve been waiting for, where are they?” CBS News asked.

“They are either on these ships or maybe they are still in Asia,” he replied. “But they’re not in warehouses!

Large backlog in ports disrupts supply chain


President Biden took several steps to address the backlog on Wednesday. Soon, workers will begin unloading the quarter-million round-the-clock sea containers in Los Angeles and Long Beach, which together handle 40% of the country’s container traffic. Dockworkers told CBS News they were all in on the plan and wanted to work this way for years.

Top retail and delivery CEOs, who met with Mr Biden on Wednesday, also pledged to extend the hours of their warehouses to ensure these products have somewhere to go.

“The commitments made today are a sign of major progress in moving goods from manufacturers to a store or to your front door,” Biden said.

But despite the changes, there is still no guarantee that the products will arrive in time for the holidays.

“We are not the postal service, nor UPS or FedEx. We cannot guarantee. What we can do is use all the levers available to the federal government to reduce delays,” said the attaché. White House Press Officer Jen Psaki.



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