24/7 ports won’t fix the supply chain backlog alone, says longshoreman

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The congested port of Los Angeles is shown in San Pedro, California, U.S. Photo by Shutterstock.

The people tasked with getting products off cargo ships at the ports of LA and Long Beach and into trucks are working around the clock to clear the backlog.

Last week, President Biden announced the port of Los Angeles will be open 24/7 to relieve the pressure and get supply moving again. The Port of Long Beach began doing so last month.

“We have plenty of workers to do it, they just have to hire us,” says Danny Miranda, who has worked at the ports for more than 40 years and is president of ILWU Local 94, the local chapter of the union that represents longshoremen and warehouse workers. 

He’s never seen the ports as backed up as they are now.

“There's a big clog, but it ain't us. We have become a storage facility instead of a throughput facility,” he says. “We are inundated with a lot of cargo. We're moving as fast as we can.”

Miranda explains the storage containers sit on the ports if there’s no one to pick them up, which is why Biden also asked big-box retailers to work extra hours to truck and unload product.

“They're stacked, they sit,” he says. “It's cheaper for them to sit [on] that ship out in the middle of the harbor than it is to put it on the dock, because there’s no one to come get it.”

Miranda would like to see the carriers better control the flow of cargo, and more rail infrastructure to move storage containers quickly and efficiently.

And if there’s one thing “Amtrak Joe” loves, it’s trains.

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