It's becoming impossible to ignore just how unprepared the Biden administration is in tackling the current shipping crisis and its impact on domestic supply chains and state economies. A significant backlog of container ships continues to pile up at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, even though President Biden issued a directive last week to keep both ports, which account for 40% of all shipping containers entering the U.S., operating on a 24/7 basis. Now the administration is so desperate that they're weighing the use of the National Guard to alleviate stretched supply chains so that Americans will hopefully get their consumer goods before the holidays, according to AP News.
Our global supply chain bottleneck, in one photo. (Port of Los Angeles from the air today) pic.twitter.com/GwefRNf0HF— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) October 19, 2021
With a record 97 container ships at anchor across the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, congestion at the nation's top ports worsens. To alleviate bottlenecks threatening the holiday shopping season, the White House released a directive last week advising both ports to operate on a 24/7 basis to counter the backlog. For some context, the ports typically have 17 ships at anchor in pre-pandemic times, so with 97, it only suggests Biden's plan is "too little too late," explained one U.S. importer of toys.
The administration is searching for other ideas to alleviate port congestion. According to WaPo, citing three sources, Biden's team has explored whether deploying the National Guard at the ports would quell overwhelmed supply chains.
One source said the administration has not considered activating the National Guard at a federal level but could soon deploy Guardsmen on a state level. They may take a page out from the U.K. when they deployed troops to resolve gas shortages last month. What's likely to happen are Guardsmen with licenses to operate heavy machinery or trucks could be deployed.
Much of the port congestion is due to the relentless, fiscally stimulated demand for (made in China) products by Americans, all thanks to the government handing out hundreds of billions of dollars in stimulus checks. Labor shortages at ports have also been another issue, which originated when the Biden administration began paying people more money to sit on their couches than work.
A.P. notes that a trade group representing clothing manufacturers has requested the National Guard or even naval ports to unload cargo.