America’s Port Crisis Threatens Delays to Holiday Deliveries

By John Loeffler.

Cargo ships carrying hundreds of thousands of shipping containers full of holiday gifts, electronics, decorations, and more are languishing off the coasts outside America’s largest ports, threatening to disrupt this year’s Black Friday and holiday shopping season — and there might be worse in store in the years ahead.

The fact that the novel coronavirus disrupted global supply chains in 2020 is both common knowledge and obviously understandable, but even supply chain professionals, millions of businesses large and small, and the managers of our vital commercial infrastructure did not expect things to drag on this long.

Worse, there’s concern that the scrambled supply chains around the world won’t be cleared up anytime soon, if ever.

“We’ve never had the yard as full as this,” Georgia Ports Authority director Griff Lynch told the NY Times this week. The Port of Savannah, the third-largest container port in the United States, is clogged up with at least 80,000 shipping containers, an increase of 50% over the port’s typical volume this time of year.

Part of the problem is that the importers who own those containers aren’t coming to pick up their merchandise. Either they have no warehouse themselves to hold the products or they can’t find truck drivers to haul the containers.