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 The Saturday Shipper

It’s a weekly newsletter that breaks down all of what’s happening in the shipping industry. We promise to only send it out once on Saturdays!

Take me there!

Spring Cleaning Your Supply Chain: Streamlining Operations with 3PL Solutions 

As the flowers bloom and the temperatures rise, it's not just nature that's undergoing a transformation—your supply chain is too. With the arrival of spring, businesses face a myriad of challenges that can disrupt operations and impede efficiency. But fear not,...

Navigating Supply Chain Disruptions: Why a 3PL Partnership is Essential in 2024

In today's fast-paced world of global trade, the resilience of your supply chain isn't just a competitive advantage—it's a necessity. As we embark on the journey into 2024, businesses are encountering a unique set of challenges that are testing the very fabric of...

Navigating the Long Way Around: Challenges and Solutions for Rerouting Cargo Ships to the Cape of Good Hope 

In the fast-paced world of global trade, the closure of key maritime routes can send shockwaves through supply chains, affecting businesses worldwide. Recently, closures in the Red Sea/Suez Canal have forced cargo vessels to reroute through the Cape of Good Hope,...

Lunar New Year Disruptions Might Deepen Canal Concerns  

Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, marks the beginning of the lunar calendar year in many Asian cultures. It's a time of joyous celebration, family gatherings, and centuries-old traditions. Each year is associated with one of the twelve...

Charting New Courses: 3PL Strategies Amidst Canal Closure Uncertainty

In an unexpected turn of events, the global logistics community faces a significant challenge: inaccessibility for both the Suez and Panama Canals. These closures aren't just a temporary glitch in the system; they represent a seismic shift in the way goods move around...

Setting Your Supply Chain Goals for 2024

Have you ever considered how the backbone of your business operations—your supply chain—could be the key to your success in 2024? As we embark on a new year, it's crucial to reflect on the importance of effective supply chain management in this dynamic business world....

Closing Canals, Opening Opportunities: A Perspective on Crisis Management 

Navigating Through Canal Crises   In recent times, two of the world's most strategic maritime passages, the Panama and Suez Canals, have encountered significant challenges that have rippled across global trade and logistics. The Panama Canal, an...

Navigating The Future: A Glimpse into the Logistics Landscape

In an era defined by interconnectivity and rapid globalization, the intricate dance of goods across borders has become the lifeblood of modern commerce. As businesses transcend geographical boundaries to reach consumers far and wide, the significance of efficient...

Red Sea Tensions Rising

What’s the impact on global shipping if the Red Sea tensions continue to rise?  In the intricate tapestry of global shipping, the Red Sea stands as a linchpin, weaving together the diverse threads of international trade and commerce. Nestled between the continents of...

Impact of Ukraine De-escalation

Global Logistics: Navigating Opportunities After Conflict Resolution  In the complex arena of international geopolitics, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine stands as a focal point with far-reaching implications. As discussions around potential resolutions gain momentum,...