When one writes a blog, one is frequently the recipient of some very interesting information…
The trucking issue with California LA ports, ie the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB), is that all semi tractors have to be current with new California Emissions Standards. Consequently, trucks cannot be older than 3 years if they are to pick up or deliver containers at those ports. This issue wipes out approximately half of the fleet trucks used to move containers in/out of the port. Operating the port 24/7 will not cure the issue, because all it does is pile up more containers that sit idle as they await a limited number of trucks to pick them up—and this is the central issue.
On October 16, 2020, the EPA reached a settlement agreement with California Air Resource Board (CARB) to shut down semi-tractor rigs that were non-compliant with new California. In effect, what this 2020 determination and settlement created was an inability of half the nation’s truckers from picking up anything from the Port of LA or Port of Long Beach. Virtually all private owner operator trucks and half of the fleet trucks that are used for moving containers across the nation were shut out.
To offset the problem, transportation companies started using compliant trucks (low emission) to take the products to the California state line, where they could be transferred to non-compliant trucks who cannot enter California. However, the scale of the problem creates an immediate bottleneck that builds over time. It doesn’t matter if the ports start working 24/7, they are only going to end up with even more containers waiting on a limited number of available trucks.
Yesterday, to obfuscate and hide the epicenter of the issue, the White House put on a performance to provide political cover. In a grand pantomime, Joe Biden met with the heads of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (Gene Seroka and Mario Cordero, respectively), and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).
The publicized meeting and White House conference was sold as Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg showing what they are doing to address the delays and the congestion across the transportation supply chain in Southern California.
As a result of the meeting, the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) announced that it will join the Port of Long Beach (POLB) in expanding to 24/7 operations. POLA will add new off-peak nighttime shifts and weekend hours, nearly doubling its hours of operation. The ILWU said its members are willing to work those extra shifts to add needed labor capacity.
That publicly promoted action event was a complete political farce. No amount of extra productivity in working the docks to off-load ships will solve the issue of trucks that cannot pick up the containers and distribute them toward manufacturing or warehouses. Betcha didn’t hear that from the legacy media…