Biden ‘deal’ to run port 24/7 amid supply chain problems still not up and running

National News

LOS ANGELES (AP/WNCN) – President Joe Biden announced a deal last month to establish around-the-clock operations at the Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s largest, to break an unprecedented container ship traffic jam blamed for driving up consumer prices.

But that hasn’t happened yet.

Sunday night, nearly 90 container ships were anchored at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach – with about $85 billion worth of goods sitting idle, KCBS reported.

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said in an online briefing Tuesday that the sprawling complex has “24/7 capability,” but a shortage of truck drivers and nighttime warehouse workers pose problems in establishing a nonstop schedule, along with getting importers to embrace expanded hours.

“It’s an effort to try to get this entire orchestra of supply chain players to get on the same calendar,” he said. Among thousands of importers, “we’ve had very few takers to date.”

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that going to a 24 hour-a-day schedule at the busiest port in the Western Hemisphere “is, of course, not flipping the switch. There are so many players, even just on the grounds of port.”

As for moving cargo, Seroka said there was encouraging news: Since Oct. 24, the port witnessed a 25% drop in the number of import containers on the docks – from 95,000 to to 71,000. During the same time, cargo sitting nine days or longer dropped by 29%, he said.

“There’s much more work to be done on this front but great progress by our dock workers, shipping lines, truckers, marine terminal operators and railroad partners,” he said.

With container ships stranded at ports and unloaded goods waiting for trucks, the White House hoped the longer workday at the port would help loosen the bottleneck and cut into shipping delays for everything from cars to toasters to sneakers.

In response to the towering piles of containers at the terminals, the port commission recently voted to impose a $100 fee on shipping companies — for each container that sits around for more than nine-days. The fines could quickly grow into the tens of millions, according to KCBS.

KCBS/CBS Newspath contributed to this report

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