The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are overwhelmed. Record numbers of ships are waiting off the California coast, and wait times to unload are ever-growing. But the struggles, it seems, don’t end at the ports: Trucks and cargo containers are filling the streets, and residents are saying they’ve had enough.
Amid surging demand for shipped goods, the number of containers moving through the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach has skyrocketed. These containers need to be removed from ships, moved to warehouses, and sent off to waiting customers. But as every step of the process breaks down, more and more corners are cut in attempts to keep the spice flowing.
Those cut corners are becoming increasingly visible to Los Angeles area residents. With a shortage of truckers to move cargo out to customers, containers are left waiting anywhere they fit — warehouses, parking lots, and even the streets of neighborhoods near the ports.
Wilmington, a neighborhood just north of both ports, has become inundated with trucks and containers coming from the ports. Members of the community spoke with CBS to complain about the uptick in traffic:
Wilmington resident Sonia Cervantes said her driveway was blocked by a truck as she tried to leave for work at 6:30 a.m. Her whole block is fed up with the never-ending traffic, she said.
“It’s a bunch of neighbors that are very upset because it’s a nonstop situation,” Cervantes told CBS LA.
Trucks disrupting traffic are bad, but containers piling up in the streets might be even worse. Even the Commissioner for the Port of Los Angeles, Lucia Moreno-Linares, recently spoke out about how bad the situation has gotten:
“All of us have noticed an increase of containers,” Moreno-Linares said at last week’s Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners meeting. “They’re not in a warehouse; they’re sitting in every empty lot and maybe that would be OK, but they’re also in the middle of the street.
Many of these containers are empty, waiting to be sent back across the Pacific, but slowdowns across the supply chain have left them stranded in Wilmington. Traffic has increased enough that drivers have to take unfamiliar routes, cutting tight corners and even destroying cars in the process.
With the holiday season approaching, there’s likely no end in sight for global supply chain issues. Shortages are expected across myriad industries, from toys and gifts to food and apparel. Still, those of us outside Wilmington have one more thing to be thankful for in November — we don’t have an up-close look at the true costs of global shipping.