There are worries of a potential countrywide shipping backlog just as merchants are beginning to prepare for the Christmas season.
Cargo is once again piling up at the Port of Los Angeles, a crucial link in the U.S. supply chain, due to a lack of rail personnel, insufficient train cars, and importers neglecting to pick up their products.
Containers are already accumulating and jamming the docks, according to port director Gene Seroka.
On our docks right now, he continued, “there are around 35,000 containers that are authorised for train.” “9,000 units seems more like a typical day.”
In four to six weeks, according to Seroka, ships may be backlogged once again if nothing is done about the containers.
Railroads have lost 20% of their staff during the last three years, according to Ben Nolan, a transportation analyst at Stifel Financial.
He said that “a lot of it is because they slashed their own employees.” “Hyper-efficiency leaves you unprepared for unforeseen events like pandemics.”
Nolan said that “precise scheduled railroading,” which sometimes employs shorter trains, is a method railways use to simplify operations.
Eric Gehringer, vice president of operations for Union Pacific, said that the railroad had brought on hundreds of additional staff.
He told CBS News, “We’re managing that traffic.” “We need to see improvements in resources beyond the railroad,” the speaker said.
Rails transport containers inland, where they are moved to trucks and delivered.
However, there is nowhere to discharge the containers due to a lack of truck drivers and an influx of products.
Nolan said, “The warehouses are packed.”
According to Seroka, “it all starts with the importer picking up their shipment a little bit quicker inland.”
The system, though, might potentially soon disintegrate.
After two years of discussions, train employees claim they have reached the “dead end,” while dockworkers at the port claim they have been without a contract for a month.
Recently, the White House put up an emergency team to assist railways in preventing a strike.