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Top US Port Chief Warns: "Shop Early" For Christmas Gifts Because Snarled Supply Chains Will Persist 

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Friday, Oct 22, 2021 - 11:00 AM

The executive director of the Port of Long Beach, the largest container port in the US, told Bloomberg Thursday that Americans should buy their holiday gifts now as congestion continues to snarl supply chains. 

"Shop early because these delays and bottlenecks are going to continue to the end of the year," Mario Cordero, the port's executive director, said during an interview with Bloomberg Television. "Hopefully, we'll have some strong mitigating factors."

The Port of Long Beach and neighboring Port of Los Angeles handle 40% of all US containerized goods. At the twin ports, more than 103 container ships are at terminals or waiting offshore on Wednesday, an all-time high. In pre-pandemic time, the average backlog of vessels at the ports is between 10 and 20. 

Chart: American Shipper based on data from Marine Exchange of Southern California. Data bi-monthly April-Nov 2020; daily Dec 2020-present

Cordero's port continues to see a massive increase in containers, up 24% this year through September. He said surging e-commerce orders are to blame, adding that the top priority to fix this mess is to have the entire supply chain operating on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week, including the port, truck and train networks, and warehouses. 

Worsening supply chain challenges are only making things more complicated for the Biden administration, who recently announced measures to operate ports on a 24/7 basis is nothing more than hot air. 

Last week, a top toy executive told Fox New that Biden's port directive is "too little, too late" to save Christmas hence why Cordero told Bloomberg's audience last night to buy holidays gifts now. 

There's even been talk behind the scenes by the White House, weighing the use of the National Guard to alleviate stretched supply chains so that Americans will hopefully get their consumer goods before Christmas. The administration is searching for ways to alleviate port congestion and doesn't want to be seen as the "Grinch" if consumer goods cannot be delivered to store shelves or their doorsteps. 

The World Bank and IHS Markit rank both ports as some of the world's least efficient, suggesting that structural issues continue to cause congestion of critical supply chains that might ruin Christmas for some. 

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