US in “strong shape” as California logjam begins to ease

Biden-Harris Administration on San Pedro Bay Ports

President Biden has insisted that the US is in “strong shape” entering the holiday season after claiming measures to ease congestion along the West Coast are proving successful.

Several measures and initiatives have been implemented to help solve issues in the US supply chain over the last few months as numbers of vessels waiting to berth outside the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach reached record numbers.

Arguably, the effective measure put into place has been the Container Dwell Fee at the ports in San Pedro Bay which aims to charge ocean carriers for long-dwelling containers in $100 per container per day increments. Consideration of this fee has recently been delayed until 6 December 2021 at the earliest.

In a recent press conference, Gene Seroka, Executive Director for the Port of Los Angeles, stated “Since we instituted a penalty for long-ageing containers, the number of ships at anchor has decreased by more than 40% over a four-week period. We have not collected a nickel of that penalty yet. We put it out there to motivate people and it has done just that.”

© Port of Los Angeles via YouTube

This has allowed the number of vessels waiting to berth at the ports to go down also, and with this President Biden has said he is confident that shelves will be stocked ready for the Christmas holidays.

“We’re heading into a holiday season on very strong shape. And it’s not because of luck. We averted potential crisis by figuring out what need to get fixed and then we brought people together to do the hard work of fixing it,” said President Biden in a recent press briefing on 1 December 2021.

“To help relieve congestion, I brought together labour and management and asked them to step up and cooperate more – to move toward operating those ports not five days a week, 40 hours a week: but 24 hours a day, seven days a week by adding more shifts at night and on the weekend.

“Then we had to make sure people could transport those goods from the ports to stores and homes across the country. We’ve broken up logjams there as well.”

The President then went on to cite the recent Early Container Pickup Incentive implemented by CMA CGM at the twin ports in Southern California as a major step forward for solving this national issue. The incentive came into effective 1 December is set to continue for 90 days in an effort to improve fluidity.

It was also announced in the last week that the administration is extending extra flexibility that will allow truckers to drive more hours when they are transporting critical goods like gas, food, and medical supplies through until February 2022.

“These important safety measures, all of them are going to help move goods more quickly and get products that people want onto store shelves all across the country.”

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