Port of Los Angeles says operations much better: 'We don't expect a backlog of ships'
The Port of Los Angeles said port operations are fluid
The Port of Los Angeles said Tuesday that while rail cargo has slowed nationwide, operations there are currently much better than earlier this year.
The port's media relations director, Phillip Sanfield, said that the number of ships waiting to berth at LA and Long Beach ports has been reduced by 75% since January, down to 22 vessels from 109.
"So no, we don’t expect a backlog of ships in coming weeks and months anywhere near compared to last year. We’ve made significant progress on that front," he told FOX Business in an emailed statement.
Sanfield said that operations at the port are fluid, cargo is moving at a record clip and the port does not anticipate issues as it enters the peak season.
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He said that the Biden administration had been "fully engaged in supply chain issues" and that the Port and Supply Chain Envoy to the administration's Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, retired Gen. Stephen R. Lyons, has been spearheading initiatives to improve the supply chain.
Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, said that there were tens of thousands more containers designated for rail on the port's docks now.
"A normal day looks more like 9,000 units," he told CBS News.
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Union Pacific Operations Vice President Eric Gehringer told the outlet that the railroad has hired hundreds of new employees.
The Port of Los Angeles handled 876,611 20-foot equivalent units in June, making it the best June in the port's 115-year history.
Seroka told Spectrum News 1 that there is more inventory than some previously thought.
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"Then we come here, to this midway point of the year, and many told us on the import side of our ledger that we would see an earlier than normal peak season. Folks didn't want to get tangled up in congestion and supply chain dislocations," he said. "They wanted to get a head start. What I see now is that some may have more inventory than they thought they would."
Seroka said the ports in southern California would continue to grow.
"And if you can supplement the volume of that cargo with robotics, you've got to be able to do it to expand capacity, which will also mean expanding the workforce. … It's not to cut back. … It's about how we can expand that capacity and its workforce."