You better watch out, You better not cry, You better not pout, I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town.
Why do I refer to this popular Christmas song? Because if you want your holiday gifts to arrive on time, you’d better get it together fast.
And it’s my hope that burning this tune into your brain will incite you to do just that.
See, procrastinating on your holiday shopping this year could cause a lot of disappointment in your family.
The reason, of course, is our supply chain crisis.
It’s one tangled mess.
For starters, we’ve got a shortage of truck drivers from coast to coast.
That shortage is impacting all manner of deliveries… none more so than those coming from our ports.
I pity the poor truckers who work the ports.
They typically find themselves waiting for shipping containers to be unloaded onto their trucks…
In fact, they routinely wait eight hours!
This is a huge problem for them because most are independent operators who get paid by the load.
So all that downtime nets them nothing.
What’s behind this debacle?
There aren’t enough dock workers to unload all the shipping containers
Worse, foreign ports are working 24/7 to ship us more and more containers.
So they’re stacking up like cordwood at our ports.
Now there’s no room for any more.
It’s a massive headache, especially for the busy Southern California ports in Long Beach and Los Angeles (which account for 40% of container imports to the U.S.).
Right now over half a million 20-foot shipping containers are stuck in cargo ships off the coast of Southern California.
They hold over 12 million metric tons of goods… things like food, clothing and – or course – holiday gifts.
And get this: some of these ships have been bobbing around the ocean for over a month!
There are so many, some are sitting 20 miles off the coast in order to keep shipping lanes open.
The situation’s gotten so bad that President Biden’s asked the executive directors of the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports to operate 24/7.
The Long Beach port has complied… sort of.
They’ve launched a pilot program to run 24 hours a day, Monday through Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Port of Los Angeles is maintaining its normal schedule of two shifts a day, five days a week.
Instead of expanding their hours, they’re (supposedly) focusing on making operations more efficient.
In the end, it doesn’t matter much.
That’s because no matter how many hours these ports operate…
No matter how efficient they make their operations…
They can’t overcome the core problem of a lack of workers any time soon.
Unfortunately, a labor shortage isn’t the only problem.