The Port of Los Angeles and some of the nation’s largest carriers of commercial freight will begin operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week as part of a White House-led push to clear a massive backlog of unloaded shipping in time for the holiday shopping season.
According to a senior White House official, the Port of Los Angeles’ efforts will be augmented by workers at FedEx, Wal-Mart, and UPS moving to 24-hour operations as well.
Additionally, the White House will be looking to other transportation providers to do the same in order to maximise capabilities nationwide and avoid supply chain bottlenecks that have many experts warning of shortages during one of the peak seasons for US retail businesses.
The Port of Los Angeles is the largest port in all of North America, spanning over 7,500 acres and containing 25 separate cargo terminals. The 3,200-acre Port of Long Beach is the second largest, and has been operating 24 hours a day for several weeks. Combined, the two ports handle nearly half of all cargo entering for the United States, including containers from America’s largest trading partners such as China, Japan, and South Korea.
Both have seen record numbers of ships waiting to be unloaded in recent days due to pandemic-era changes in labour supply and shopping practices. White House officials are hoping the move to all-day, all-night operations across the supply chain will help clear shipping and supply bottlenecks. Other companies joining the push to expand operations are Samsung, Target, and Home Depot.
“We need the private sector to step and help solve these problems,” said a White House official who briefed reporters on the announcement, which is scheduled to take place during a Wednesday afternoon virtual roundtable with President Joe Biden and leaders from across the shipping industry.
The official said the White House is hoping that more and more shipping and logistics providers will join those that have already made the commitment to move to non-stop operations, because such commitments are most effective “when every private company along the supply chain does the same thing”.
“We will be looking to trucking and freight to expand hours as well to help with the bottlenecks,” the official said.
“We will be working across the supply chain for a 90-day sprint to the end of the year”.