As of Monday, approximately 200,000 shipping containers were still roaming in ships off the coast of Los Angeles. 

Port authorities have stated that they have “about two weeks worth of work sitting at anchor right now,” and are working to unload the cargo off the port as quickly as possible. 

The good news is that with President Joe Biden’s announcement of a 24/7 operating schedule, congested container volume has been going down. “We had 25% of all cargo on our dock sitting here for 13 days or longer [and] that’s been cut in just about half over the last week,” said Gene Seroka, the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.

Aerial view of the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports.

But not all that glitters is gold. 

Despite ports being ready to operate across all hours of the day, terminals are not. Privately owned terminals remain closed during late-night hours, as no businesses are calling to pick up their containers during those times. 

Phillip Sanfield, Director of Media Relations for the port has said that “there seems to be no cargo owners who are looking to use the 3AM – 8AM window,” and that currently, there is no “demand by cargo owners to come get their cargo during the overnight hours.” 

Furthermore, longer working port hours do not translate into longer working hours for drivers. Truck drivers still have to follow safety rules that limit the number of hours they can be driving, and the shortage of truck drivers certainly doesn’t help matters. 

As a large portion of the world’s economy has recovered from the pandemic, demand for goods has only been increasing. As a direct result, ports across the globe are incredibly congested. 

Extending working hours for ports may be done in good faith, but could actually create more of a clog down the supply chain. Warehouses, trucking companies, and railroads may struggle to coordinate working hours accordingly and struggle to keep up with demand. 

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