Business insider via Yahoo News
Ports in Southern California have broken numerous records this year as over 100 ships wait to dock.
12 Longshoremen described what it’s like keeping the supply chain moving despite historic backlogs.
The workers told Insider ports are running at a break-neck pace, but the situation is getting worse.
Dock workers have long been working day and night to keep the supply chain running. But, since the pandemic started, COVID-19 shutdowns and surging demand have cast the ports into chaos – and workers say there’s no end in sight. Insider spoke with 12 dock workers from across the US, including seven that work at ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach – locations responsible for over 40% of the nation’s imports. The workers asked to remain anonymous to speak freely about their jobs, but their identities have been verified by Insider. Four longshoremen with more than 20 years of experience at the major California ports said they’ve never seen anything like the near-record backlogs. The issues are spilling over to ports in cities like Seattle and Houston, as well, workers said. “It’s just been one thing after another,” a clerk at the Port of Los Angeles told Insider. “Half of my shift is just trying to make sense of all the containers. It’s a never-ending situation where I’m just constantly putting out fires. It’s nearly impossible to get anything else done.”
‘There’s barely enough room to unload the ships’
The clerk, who manages incoming and outgoing shipments, said the high volume of containers is leading to chronic disorganization and mix-ups of long-distance and local deliveries. As a result, workers are frequently forced to stop unloading ships and stocking trucks – jobs that keep the flow of goods moving – to reorganize the containers.