In 2020, we had to resort to buying many products online and in a blink of an eye, they would show up on our doorsteps. Although it did have its advantages, there were a few issues as well, most, however, are not directly from shipping or online shops. The word on the street is that the unemployment checks for the Covid-19 quarantine are still going out to people, and instead of working, these employees are living off of the checks that the government distributed last April, which is making the ships “line up” off the Californian coast.
Like most companies around the country, the shipping ports are low on workers, this makes the process move slower because fewer people are having to do more jobs and tasks. According to cnbc.com, “President Joe Biden tried to fix the problem by ordering the ports to stay open 24 hours (…).” However, that has only helped a portion of it because then the workers that the ports have will have to work harder and in other jobs that they may not be educated in. Several people are trying to figure out solutions to get the cargo in and out faster. According to vox.com, the solutions range from rerouting cargo to other ports to plans to charge for bins that do not get unloaded in eight days for about $100. However, the ideas have a few setbacks to them, for example, to reroute the cargo, there must be trucks to pick it up. This is not only affecting companies, but also the distribution and flow because if the boats reroute from Los Angeles port to the Jacksonville port, the trucks might have to take a different route which would take longer, so the truck drivers would have to get paid more and the companies would have to adjust their restocking times if products come later, resulting in a domino effect through 2021 going into 2022.
Since there is only about a month left in 2021, the shipping delays will most likely go well into 2022. According to cnbc.com, “Some 77 ships are waiting outside docks in Los Angeles and Long Beach (…).” Even when the ships finally dock, it will still take a while because the ships have to unload then go back to where they came from to get more stuff to go back to the port to wait in line to unload in a never-ending cycle. “Shipping a container through major U.S. ports now takes triple the time it normally does,” according to cnbc.com. Although there are other ports in the U.S. to go to, not all of them will be open or less busy than the major ports, and there are other factors in between the ports and the final destination.
The current shipping delays are affecting the ports, companies, truck drivers, and people waiting for their orders. Even though it will take a while, it’s a process that needs to be worked out. Hopefully, it should soon be rolling so smoothly we won’t even notice it.