US Port Delays: What You Need To Know Right Now

Aug 19, 2022 | Supply Chain Problems

With peak shipping season fast upon us, U.S. port delays show no sign of easing up. Demand for shipping containers is up 86% over first-quarter numbers as retailers gear up for the annual rise in demand that results from a return to school and the upcoming holiday season.

Now more than ever, solid planning and a steady hand at the wheel are essential for navigating today’s supply chain difficulties.

Let’s take a closer look at what is causing U.S. port delays right now.

What Is Causing Port Delays?

Many of the problems that are plaguing supply chains around the world began with the double-whammy of COVID-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The lockdowns that kept people away from work all over the world, and particularly in China, were a massive drag on global shipping. Then, just as that situation eased, the war that engulfed Ukraine suddenly meant a radical change in logistics and trade from that region of the world and a steady rise in the cost of shipping.

But that’s no longer the whole story of why delays at the Port of Los Angeles are averaging nine to 12 days or why 12% of all the container ships in the world report being backed up for longer than normal.

There are other factors aside from COVID and the war adding pressure to the creaky system.

Strike Action Looms in Multiple Sectors

The looming threat of strike action is providing a real challenge to planning and forecasting for international shippers.

Negotiations between U.S. dockworker unions and employers are ongoing, and the entire industry is on pins and needles. Workers are increasingly worried about the threat of automation to their jobs and are using their numbers to make their position felt.  President Biden addressed negotiators in June as a sign of how seriously the administration is taking the port delay situation.

Meanwhile, another looming threat to U.S. ports is the twin danger of strike action from both rail and truck workers.  Plus, protests against some new state laws in California could only make things worse as peak season approaches.

Rising Volumes Likely To Add More Pressure

The months of late August through November are always busy for those working in the supply chain. But with costs already sky high and congestion a fact of life, this peak season may be the most difficult in decades. The pain of inflation seems to be easing a bit, with gas dropping below $4 for the first time in months. Retailers are breathing a sigh of relief and are likely to be stocking up in anticipation of a solid festive season.

Supply chain problems are likely to worsen as U.S. port congestion creeps up again.

Transportation professionals like OL USA are using all their experience and creativity to deal with the wide range of problems that are proving to be a drag on the global supply chain. Port delays could worsen over the coming months as volumes rise and strike action looms over the industry

Sign up for OL USA's weekly Industry Snapshot

* indicates required

Market Price, Contracts, and Budget Risks: What Did 2022 Teach Us to Expect in 2023?

Efficiency is extremely important to almost any business. It’s nearly impossible for businesses to scale without keeping an eye on costs in most aspects of their operations. So, naturally, that includes the cost of moving cargo—and that side of the industry has seen...

The Biggest Technological Advancements that will Impact Shipping and Logistics

Shipping and logistics are caught between the old and new industrial complex – but with several high-profile, high-tech capabilities, solutions, and implementations beginning to roll out en masse, 2023 is shaping up to be a major industry turning point.  This...

Railway Strike Congressional Action

Railway Workers Unions across the country have been threatening to strike starting December 9th, until Congress’s extremely rare intervention this week, invoking the 1926 Railway Labor Act. Here’s what happened—and what might have happened. Talks of a nationwide...

How Will Changing Environmental Policies Impact Shipping and Logistics?

The reality? The logistics industry is notorious for stirring up less-than-positive environmental press. And considering a single Capesize Bulk Carrier uses 40-plus metric tons per day—and releases about 33,000 tons of CO2 in a single year—that shouldn’t come as a...

The Geopolitical Impacts on the Global Supply Chain

The global economy has gone through an awful lot of changes over the past several years, which is nothing new. We’ve all been pointing fingers at the pandemic concerning economic disruption, and for good reason—it’s disrupted trade to a degree we haven’t really seen...

Top 5 Freight Forwarding Best Practices

Whether you are a seasoned veteran or planning your first international shipment, the freight forwarding process can be challenging to navigate. Even the slightest hiccup along the way can cause significant delays, damaged goods, and higher costs. Given these high...

Five Long-Term Changes Covid Caused for Shipping and Logistics

Remember back in March and April of 2020 when nobody could find toilet paper? That was the first nationwide supply chain crisis most of the United States can remember since the Gas Shortage from the seventies. Slowly, over the past couple of years, we’ve started to...

2022 Shipping Reform Act Addresses Rail Delay Causes

Early return dates (ERDs) can give anyone the chills. For example, imagine you just successfully finished a grueling negotiation to deliver a large shipment to an overseas buyer. Your company organized a trucking company to transport goods to the port over the next...

Port Strikes in Europe

Early return dates (ERDs) can give anyone the chills. For example, imagine you just successfully finished a grueling negotiation to deliver a large shipment to an overseas buyer. Your company organized a trucking company to transport goods to the port over the next...

The 2022 Shipping Reform Act: What It Means for Ocean Carriers

Early return dates (ERDs) can give anyone the chills. For example, imagine you just successfully finished a grueling negotiation to deliver a large shipment to an overseas buyer. Your company organized a trucking company to transport goods to the port over the next...