Bottlenecks at ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach

The global COVID-19 pandemic has left in its wake a global crisis in supply chains, as sales of durable goods surged amid labor and transportation shortages, which have left private companies scrambling to keep their jobs operations.

Another consequence of the pandemic was the increase in electronic commerce, which grew by 39% compared to the first quarter of 2020; but, what would once have been welcome news, in times of COVID has come to further congest the already neglected key transportation and logistics nodes that 1,800 port workers in Southern California temporarily abandoned due to the threat of the new virus. 

The United States was not the only country affected by those logistical disruptions; Yantian (Shenzhen) and Ningbo-Zhoushan, two of the world's 5 largest ports, experienced multi-week partial terminal closures aimed at curbing COVID outbreaks, slowing down global supply chains due to increased dwell times and canceled sailings. 

Hundreds of factories have closed under lockdown restrictions in Vietnam, halting production that supports thousands of retailers around the world during 2020 and 2021.

These disruptions have made the transportation supply chain more unstable and difficult to predict. In this context, during October 2021, through an official communication from the White House, the United States government announced actions to alleviate logistics bottlenecks in Long Beach and Los Angeles, moving merchandise from the ship to the shelf.

According to what was announced, the Government participated in the negotiations to extend the hours of operation of the main ports of the country, seeking to alleviate the caused blockades that have affected the supply chain, also threatening the economic recovery of the United States.

Thanks to the effort of the White House, which was involved in the negotiation, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, both located in the state of California, now operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The announcement came to alleviate the bottlenecks that occurred during the most critical months of the pandemic, and that left damage that is still being alleviated. Breaking the jam, moving the containers and ensuring that the goods reach their destination is essential to achieve a true economic recovery in America, where the health contingency and the crisis in the supply chain, in addition to keeping ships stranded near of the ports, generated great pressure, registering an inflation of 5.4% year-on-year in 2021, matching records from 13 years ago.

According to the words of President Joe Biden, the implementation of this plan is a great first step to accelerate the movement of materials and goods through the supply chain, although the participation of the rest of the sector is still necessary.

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