Backlogged Cargo Ships Off New York, California Coasts Face 4-Week Wait

Beyond the Southern border, another looming crisis for the Biden administration is the backlogged container ships anchored off the coasts of California and New York that now have to wait up to 4 weeks to unload their shipments.

“Dozens of cargo ships anchored off the coasts of Los Angeles and New York face shocking wait times of up to four weeks and railyards and trucking routes are hopelessly clogged due to the lack of manpower to unload goods,” reported the Daily Mail.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 20: In an aerial view, container ships are anchored by the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles as they wait to offload on September 20, 2021 near Los Angeles, California. Amid a record-high demand for imported goods and a shortage of shipping containers and truckers, the twin ports are currently seeing unprecedented congestion. On September 17, there were a record total of 147 ships, 95 of which were container ships, in the twin ports, which move about 40 percent of all cargo containers entering the U.S. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Due to the pandemic, American consumer demands have never been higher, with people spending less money on travel and entertainment and more on toys, clothing, electronics, and a whole range of goods. However, due to lack of manpower in conjunction with intense coronavirus restrictions, American ports have simply been unable to unload the shipments in a timely manner.

“Global infrastructure was not designed to handle goods at such a rate,” one expert on the situation told the Daily Mail. “Supply chains are the artery who feeds our entire ecosystem. The government needs to intervene to stop this crisis immediately, or face increased inflation and unemployment, and economic breakdown – or face an end to global trade.’

Footage obtained by shows the scale of the problem on the seas with more than a dozen cargo ships and oil tankers anchored outside New York’s harbor, waiting to unload their goods.

Ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach – two of the most popular shipping destinations in the US – are currently housing vessels that have been left anchored for four weeks.

The ports saw as many as 73 vessels waiting to unload earlier in September, and 66 container ships this week, according to Marine Exchange of Southern California data cited by The Wall Street Journal.

According to CBS Los Angeles, up to 500,000 shipping containers are floating off the Southern California coast, with truck drivers waiting in line for hours to transport their scheduled shipments.

“I’ve got friends right now that are in line… from nine o’clock in the morning and they can’t pull the load yet,” truck driver Walter Martinez told CBS. “The people inside, they get paid by the hour, but not the drivers.”

Truck driver Oscar Ovalle confirmed that he waited from 8 p.m to 3 a.m. in the morning, with one crane lifting containers for 60 trucks.

“They kicked me out because they leave at three o’clock,” said Ovalle. “There’s one crane for 60 trucks and it’s ridiculous! They have two other cranes sitting.”

Gene Seroka, the Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles, has called upon the Federal Reserve System to aid in the crisis.

“Over the last 10 years, the federal government and Congress have out-invested West Coast ports at a rate 11 to one. That’s got to change, and with an infrastructure bill pending vote in Congress this week, we need all eyes on Los Angeles,” said Seroka. “This is what 10 years of under-investment looks like, and we need to move forward.”

According to the Daily Mail, “Consumer experts have warned Americans to begin doing their Christmas shopping now, to ensure goods arrive on time, and to ensure there’s time to try and find an alternative if a desired gift is one of the products that is currently scarce.”