- Micah Laxon
- BBC Reality Czech
Container ships have been unloading their cargo for several weeks off the coast of California in the United States. In the midst of a real congestion of global supply chains, some have to wait days for shipwreck.
“We are facing unprecedented new cargo arrivals in the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.
Satellite images of the Long Beach and Los Angeles harbor area show a crowd of large ships waiting to land.
These are container ships that carry goods – from toys to tennis scams – all imaginable – across the Pacific Ocean to the west coast of the United States.
The Marine Traffic, a ship tracking website, counted more than 50 container ships off the coast of Long Beach and Los Angeles on Oct. 13 after a traffic jam recorded on Sept. 13.
The two ports are the main reference for cargo coming from China. So once a congestion starts, it is likely to worsen quickly, says Janet Porter, chair of the editorial board of Lloyds List, a publication on the maritime industry.
“The whole ship cycle has slowed down. Some ships are waiting for days to die, even weeks.”
In the first eight months of 2021, the volume of cargo shipped from Asia to the United States increased by 25% compared to the same period in 2019, prior to the Govt-19 epidemic, according to container trade figures. In Europe, for example, the situation was different between the two periods when the numbers were almost unchanged.
There is also a line of ships on the east coast of the United States, in the port of Savannah, Georgia. August is the second busiest month in the region.
Part of the congestion of American container ships is due to the increased demand from Americans, who often prefer to shop online rather than go on vacation or dine.
Demand for consumer goods, in general, increased by 22% from pre-epidemic levels (compared to August 2021 and February 2020).
Capital Economics, a consulting firm, is drawing attention to a significant increase in imports of toys, games and sporting goods (up to 74%) and home appliances (up to 49%).
“Right now, many shipping carriers are loading their containers with themed items, including billions of dollars worth of Halloween items and billions of dollars worth of Christmas decorations such as Christmas trees and lanterns,” said Christopher Tong, a professor at the University of Los Angeles.
He says the country’s own effort to revive the economy also contributes to the pressure of need.
As companies encourage their employees to return to work face-to-face, the demand for office equipment such as computers and printers is increasing — many of which are now stuck in multiple containers from Asia.
There are also new devices used in strategies to prevent corona virus infection in the office environment.
“Many air filters and ventilation equipment are waiting to be unloaded in these containers,” Tang says.
When the cargo finally arrives at the port, the problem is not over.
As Gary Huffover, a senior comrade at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, points out, the United States now has a shortage of skilled dock workers, truck drivers, and train crews to ensure efficient delivery of goods.
“This is mostly a reflection of the delta type, but the retirement of many workers, especially among truck drivers.”
Is it possible to avoid the problem?
“I don’t think anyone predicted this dramatic increase in demand – especially since ships had to‘ sauce ’because of the epidemic,” Porter says.
The image of shipping congestion off the coast of California has sparked a wide-ranging debate about the state of the country’s supply chains. The sector has been demanding for some time that the infrastructure be modernized.
Experts say part of the logistics capacity problems in US ports actually existed before the epidemic.
“This represents a significant investment over a number of years. [antes da pandemia]”, Hafawar points out.
In a statement on the matter, the White House chief of staff announced that the Biden administration would address the “supply chain mess” it had received from previous administrations.
The White House task force was formed to mitigate the obstacles. One of these efforts is to extend the opening hours of Los Angeles Harbor in an effort to alleviate traffic congestion.
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