Wednesday, 17 November 2021 11:00

Port of LA Officials Report Backlog Improvement Ahead of Holiday Season

Written by Madison Hirneisen, The Center Square


...traditional transpacific vessels, while the rest are much smaller. On average, the port is working about 17 ships per day, Seroka said.


Looking toward the holidays, Seroka said he expects to see some “leveling off” after Thanksgiving but does not anticipate a big drop in imports. While concerns over holiday shortages loom, Seroka said many retailers stocked up on Christmas inventory earlier this year than in the past.


“Our savvy retail community pulled forward a lot of their inventory and imports this year,” Seroka said. “We started seeing Christmas and holiday goods crossing the docks in June, much earlier than traditionally seen in late August and early September. So I think inventories are starting to build, which is good. Choices will be wider for us the American consumer, but we still have a lot of strength in the import market.”


To accelerate the movement of containers at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, the Biden administration authorized the ports to work around the clock in mid-October. This 24/7 schedule, however, has not taken full effect at either port just yet.


Officials explained Nov. 16 the president’s authorization was just the first step in making the move to around-the-clock operations, but officials still remain in coordination with other parts of the supply chain, like rail operators and truck drivers, to make the switch.


At this time, Seroka said the port is operating at about 19 hours per day by implementing “flex hours” and opening gates a bit earlier. He added the port is still working to “get this entire orchestra of supply chain players on the same calendar,” noting there have been “very few takers” to date.


Seroka said there is currently a need for more warehouse workers and truck drivers to increase operations, noting about 8,000 warehouse jobs are currently open in Southern California. In addition, the latest estimate from the American Trucking Associations says the U.S. is short about 80,000 drivers---an all-time high in the industry.


To get to the point where the ports operate around the clock, Seroka said it’s going to take hiring more of these workers and syncing schedules with other major players on the supply chain.


We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.


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