The Strategist

US ports and logistics companies switch to around-the-clock operations

10/15/2021 - 07:14

The Port of Los Angeles, one of the largest ports in the US, is moving to a 24/7 operation. This should help to cope with the flow of cargo that the port has no time to receive and process.

Shane Smith
Shane Smith
In addition to the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach, California, as well as logistics companies FedEx, UPS and retailer Walmart are also moving to 24/7 operations.

The decision was taken on Wednesday, 13 October, at the initiative of US President Joe Biden's administration. Officials met with representatives of the companies, ports and unions.

The US, like some other countries, has been facing increasing logistical difficulties in recent days due to disruptions to international supply chains, a general economic recovery and rising consumer demand, including for the pre-holiday period. Ports and logistics companies are unable to cope with the flow of cargo.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach account for about 40% of all freight containers coming into the US by sea. In recent weeks dozens of ships have been queuing to unload cargo there - a record 73 ships queued to unload on one day in September, whereas normally even one or two ships are waiting to unload is an abnormal situation. All this leads to shortages of a range of goods in the US, which is particularly acute in the run-up to Christmas and contributes to higher prices, while inflation is already quite high.

Yesterday it was reported that the UK's largest cargo port, Felixstowe, was also struggling to unload incoming containers.