Supply Chain Crisis Worsens, Number Of Ships Off California Coast Hits New Record
Shipping Containers In Long Beach Harbor
David McNew/Staff via Getty Images

There are now 111 container ships waiting to unload in California’s ports.

For the past several months, shipping vessels delivering consumer goods from Asian markets have idled in the Pacific Ocean as the United States faces labor shortages, creating bottlenecks in key California ports. As a result, retailers and suppliers across the United States are short on inventory to meet consumer demand.

Even after action from the Biden administration, more consumer goods than ever remain stranded. As Business Insider reported on Wednesday:

According to data from the Marine Exchange, a total of 111 container ships are bobbing at sea around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, waiting to dock and unload. That breaks the previous record of 108 vessels reported on October 21.

The two ports remain clogged despite efforts to speed up the processing of containers amid a surge in consumer demand for goods. The White House announced a shift to an around-the-clock schedule in October and a new looming threat of fines for leaving containers on the docks for several days.

Analysts expect that the crisis will endure for the foreseeable future. In a recent Wall Street Journal poll of economists, roughly half cited supply chain bottlenecks as “the biggest threat to economic growth in the next twelve to eighteen months” — with 45% estimating that bottlenecks will not recede until the second half of 2022.

Nevertheless, the Biden administration has emphasized that the supply chain issues are attributable to increased consumer demand following COVID-19 and the lockdown-induced recession. Indeed, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said during a CNN interview last month that the crisis points to how “successfully” President Biden has managed the economy.

“Well, certainly, a lot of the challenges that we have been experiencing this year will continue into next year,” Buttigieg explained. “But there are both short-term and long-term steps that we can take to do something about it. Look, part of what’s happening isn’t just the supply side. It’s the demand side. Demand is off the charts. Retail sales are through the roof.”

“And if you think about those images of ships, for example, waiting at anchor on the West Coast, you know, every one of those ships is full of record amounts of goods that Americans are buying, because demand is up, because income is up, because the president has successfully guided this economy out of the teeth of a terrifying recession,” Buttigieg claimed. “Now the issue is, even though our ports are handling more than they ever have, record amounts of goods coming through, our supply chains can’t keep up. And, of course, our supply chains, that’s a complicated system that is mostly in private hands, and rightly so.”

Days earlier, however, Politico revealed that Buttigieg had been on paid leave for months after adopting twins: “While U.S. ports faced anchor-to-anchor traffic and Congress nearly melted down over the president’s infrastructure bill in recent weeks, the usually omnipresent Transportation secretary was lying low.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Supply Chain Crisis Worsens, Number Of Ships Off California Coast Hits New Record