The number of containers at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles has fallen 25 percent to 71,000 during the first three weeks of this month, as the ports threatened a $100 daily fine for each container left sitting in storage yards for nine days or more.
The number of containers eligible for the fines at the Los Angeles port is down 29 percent, port director Gene Seroka said in a 16 November press conference cited by Bloomberg.
The port has delayed imposing the fines but the threat has helped remove a significant number of the 65,000 idle containers that littered the port’s docks and lots.
The port also has enlisted eight “sweeper ships” that can store thousands of the empties.
The newly-passed federal infrastructure budget includes $230 million to upgrade U.S. ports, which have been a focal point of the supply chain disruptions that are fueling inflation. (See “Backlogged Ships: New Abnormal,” 28 Sep 2021.)
Still, 83 container vessels were moored off Los Angeles’s port last week, waiting for berths, the Marine Exchange of Southern California reported.
Also, president Joe Biden’s call to put the ports to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, has had no substantial effect: of the 125,000 businesses that use the Los Angeles port for shipping, only 21 have volunteered for the new schedule, Bloomberg noted.