About 65 cargo ships carrying imported goods are stranded at ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach. Sources indicate that both ports account for 40 percent of all imported goods entering the United States.
Christian Carlos. Peninsula 360 Press [P360P].
The delay is due to the fact that the U.S. has recently opened its borders to foreign trade, including imports; however, the high number of containers that are entering the country and have to be declared has exceeded U.S. customs capacity, said Gene Seroka, head of the Port of Los Angeles.
After the U.S. economy shut down foreign trade due to the COVID-19 pandemic, import goods have slowed down and accumulated over the last few months, so that now the authorities are unable to accommodate everyone.
Ocean freight is the cheapest form of transportation. It is slow, but compared to air, rail and truck freight, it results in low long-term costs.
As a result, most of the world's trade is carried by sea. The Port of Los Angeles is the largest seaport in North America, with half a million employees.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global supply chain was disrupted. Reduced schedules and physical distancing measures meant that much less cargo could be processed at ports around the world.
The Port of Los Angeles was not immune to this.
With the reopening, Americans - the world's largest buyers - began spending their income on the only thing they could: goods. Instead of processing 20 percent of all cargo, the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach combined were processing nearly 50 percent of all cargo coming into the country.
It is as if they are being asked to do their work at up to 2.5 times the speed, not counting the delays generated by the effects of the pandemic - absenteeism due to COVID-19.
As a result, shortages arose in sectors that were not previously considered urgent. Shipping containers were not emptied in the U.S. and returned to their countries of origin immediately.