No matter how we shop - store pickup, in-store, online, open-air market or holiday marketplace - we are bound to notice many items "currently unavailable" or priced much higher than normal.
This is all because you did not get vaccinated! You are causing this! That's according to US Treasury, Obama Foundation, BlackRock exec Wally Adeyemo on ABC - 06:35. Another favorite: It's the fault of all those lazy people who won't identify as workers anymore.
There are plenty of loud, judgmental, condemning and obfuscating voices out there pointing fingers at anyone deemed not to be following this week's edicts. But, fighting amongst ourselves is beyond counter-productive - which is why it's being promoted. The best use of our time is to continue preparing our homes as well as we can and simplify down to what's basic and important.
What follows are four brief articles that shed light on what's actually happening at the Ports of Los Angeles and San Diego, on our highways and in our cities. Maybe with a little more information we could we put away the pointing fingers and stand in solidarity with those workers trying to move through the Western Ruling Class' logjams, and get back to work on our own resilience and self-reliance? ~ Ed.
By Jared Vineyard at UniversalCargo.com
The Port of Los Angeles, along with its sister port of Long Beach, is congested. Badly congested. No Vicks or Sudafed is going to take care of it. Frustrations over the congestion are running high for carriers and shippers alike.
However, the situation is especially frustrating for shippers who are experiencing delays and increased costs in receiving their imports.
Approximately 40% of U.S. imports arrive through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. While congestion is common to ports around the world right now, the high volume of cargo that arrives through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach exacerbates the congestion problem there while adding weight to it for the U.S. economy.
Trucking cargo out of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is increasingly challenging.
Universal Cargo Management Managing Director Kamy Eliassi described the situation as follows:
As we had discussed about Trucking issues that are more relevant in the US now, we are now experiencing the issue at its highest in Los Angeles/Long Beach ports.
Terminals are fully congested with bigger vessels and vessel backlogs and the process of grounding and putting containers on Chassis is taking very long. Truckers in LA are all behind as every delay has a domino effect on all their schedules.
There are a number of factors working together to create or exacerbate the congestion problems at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as well as other ports around the world. Here are 5 factors contributing to the congestion:
1 – Bigger Ships and Alliances
As the international shipping industry has trended toward bigger and bigger ships–yes, you can say it, megaships–carrier alliances have formed to fill those ships.
Because of alliances loading bigger ships with larger and larger quantities of cargo, unloading cargo ships quickly and efficiently has become more of a challenge for the longshoremen working on the docks.
A Peter T. Leach written Journal of Commerce (JOC) article puts it nicely:
As carriers deploy ever-larger ships, the sheer volume of containers aboard those vessels is starting to overwhelm major gateway ports, challenging their ability to unload import containers on a timely basis. The delays are exacerbated by the alliances carriers are joining to operate and fill the mega-ships. Although this has resulted in fewer ship calls at major ports, the calls by alliance mega-ships are absorbing more port capacity to handle those calls and taking more time to load and unload.
2 – Lack of Chassis
Carriers used to provide chassis for their container shipments in the U.S. However, as part of the process of recovering from losses in the billions during the Great Recession, carriers phased out that part of their service and sold off their chassis.
The result has been what was dubbed as the chassis crisis.
A lack of chassis has seriously hindered the movement of cargo containers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Hapag-Lloyd, part of the G6 carrier alliance, wrote out a lengthy explanation of the congestion and delays at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Chassis, or a lack there of, were brought up nine times in Hapag-Lloyd’s descriptions of the situations at the various port terminals.
YTI is well operated but cannot cope with increased volume and lack of chassis through-out LGB/LAX area….
CUT is less congested, but is severely impacted by lack of chassis, which leads to 8-14 day delay for on-dock rail program…. They need GACP chassis to perform the cross-terminal shuttle for the rail operation. With none chassis, the rail program seizes up [sic].
LBCT (OOCL’s terminal) is certainly affected by lack of chassis and lack of truck power, but they are far and away the least congested. They get one ship a week and work it well. Any delays you see are the result of lines not being able to pick cargo up due [to] lack of chassis and truck.
APMT is not a G6 terminal, but we have services there. They have by far the largest throughput in both harbors combined, but they are fluid and uncongested. We are experiencing delays there, but it is solely because we don’t have chassis or truckers to pick cargo up.
Pier A has been used as a relief valve… Terminal is well run and fluid, but they use BN as on-dock rail provider and we use UP…so, everything for HL is a truck move, and back to the same problem of no trucks and no chassis.
If you read more than the bolded words above, beyond chassis you’d see the word “truck” show up over and over again. That brings us to the next factor in all this congestion.
3 – Trucker Shortage Problem
A major problem facing the international shipping industry, especially right here in the U.S. is a trucker shortage problem.
Truck drivers are the basic unit of transportation capacity and the glue that holds supply chains together. No container or straight truck or trailer moves without, at some point, a truck driver. Even so, trucking companies, especially truckload carriers, often have great difficulty finding, hiring and keeping drivers….
There simply are not enough truckers to handle all the transporting of cargo that needs to take place.
A lack in truckers to transport cargo translates into delays and increased costs to shippers.
4 – Strong Peak Season Shipping
Just last week I wrote a blog about how cargo volume numbers rose in August.
The blog was really optimistic, focusing on the positives of cargo growth and right from the title begged the question, “Is International Shipping Returning to Pre-Recession Levels?”
With all the positives that an increase in shipments means at the Port of Los Angeles, there is also the negative of more cargo and more shipping containers just adds to the congestion problem.
5 – Fire at the Port of Los Angeles
On top of all the congestion that was already happening at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, a welding accident caused a fire at the Port of Los Angeles.
Thankfully, the LAPD contained and put out the fire quickly; however, that does not mean the fire did not add to the congestion problems at the port.
The smoke caused evacuations at terminals around the twin ports and then closures at many terminals.
Closed terminals got back up and running quickly, but anyone who doesn’t think this fire added to the backlogs at the ports is fooling him or herself.
Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the maritime, road and aviation industries have called loudly and clearly on governments to ensure the free movement of transport workers and to end travel bans and other restrictions that have had an enormously detrimental impact on their wellbeing and safety. Transport workers keep the world running and are vital for the free movement of products, including vaccines and PPE, but have been continually failed by governments and taken for granted by their officials.
Our calls have been consistent and clear: freedom of movement for transport workers, for governments to use protocols that have been endorsed by international bodies for each sector and to prioritise transport workers for vaccinations as called for in the World Health Organization’s SAGE Roadmap for Prioritizing Uses of COVID-19 Vaccines in the Context of Limited Supply.
Heads of government have failed to listen, to end the blame-shifting within and between governments and take the decisive and coordinated action needed to resolve this crisis.
This is why IRU, the world road transport organisation, IATA, the International Air Transport Association, ICS, the International Chamber of Shipping, and ITF, the International Transport Workers’ Federation, have come together to make an urgent plea to the world’s heads of government and the United Nations Agencies to remove restrictions hampering the free movement of transport workers, and guarantee and facilitate their free and safe movement.
Our collective industries account for more than $20 trillion of world trade annually, and represent 65 million global transport workers, and over 3.5 million road freight and airline companies, as well as more than 80% of the world merchant shipping fleet. Seafarers, air crew and drivers must be able to continue to do their jobs, and cross borders, to keep supply chains moving. We ask heads of government to urgently take the leadership that is required to bring an end to the fragmented travel rules and restrictions that have severely impacted the global supply chain and put at risk the health and wellbeing of our international transport workforce. We also need the same urgent leadership to increase global vaccine supply by all means at our disposal, in order to expedite the recovery of our industries.
We ask that our transport workers are given priority to receive WHO recognised vaccines and heads of government work together to create globally harmonised, digital, mutually recognised vaccination certificate and processes for demonstrating health credentials (including vaccination status and COVID-19 test results), which are paramount to ensure transport workers can cross international borders.
We also call on the WHO to take our message to health ministries. Despite early engagement at the outset of the pandemic and issuance of guidance, health and transport ministries have not utilised it, resulting in the situation we face today. We need the WHO and governments to work together to ensure this guidance is accepted and followed.
The impact of nearly two years’ worth of strain, placed particularly upon maritime and road transport workers, but also impacting air crews, is now being seen. Their continued mistreatment is adding pressure on an already crumbling global supply chain. We are witnessing unprecedented disruptions and global delays and shortages on essential goods including electronics, food, fuel and medical supplies. Consumer demand is rising and the delays look set to worsen ahead of Christmas and continue into 2022.
We have all continued to keep global trade flowing throughout the pandemic, but it has taken a human toll. At the peak of the crew change crisis 400,000 seafarers were unable to leave their ships, with some seafarers working for as long as 18 months over their initial contracts. Flights have been restricted and aviation workers have faced the inconsistency of border, travel, restrictions, and vaccine restrictions/requirements. Additional and systemic stopping at road borders has meant truck drivers have been forced to wait, sometimes weeks, before being able to complete their journeys and return home.
It is of great concern that we are also seeing shortages of workers and expect more to leave our industries as a result of the poor treatment they have faced during the pandemic, putting the supply chain under greater threat.
In view of the vital role that transport workers have played during the pandemic and continue to play during the ongoing supply chain crisis, we request, as a matter of urgency, a meeting with WHO and the ILO at the highest level to identify solutions before global transport systems collapse. We also ask that WHO and the ILO raise this at the UN General Assembly and call on heads of government to take meaningful and swift action to resolve this crisis now.
Source: International Chamber of Shipping Press Release September 21, 2021
by Helen Buyniski at RTThe supply of food, drugs and other necessities is running out, and the labor needed to fill empty shelves can’t be found, Americans are told. But we’ve heard this before – is it really time to panic, or for a voice of sanity?
Veteran media fearmongers have spent the last two years predicting the imminent doom of a society deprived of hairspray and baked beans in some sort of great retail apocalypse, the likes of which our materialistic society hasn’t seen since the Great Depression. But according to these chroniclers of collapse, this latest promise of famine is no mere Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020.
According to CNN business writer Nathaniel Meyersohn, the coming wave of retail doom will make all previous shortages (real and imagined) look like child’s play. The would-be anthropologist has divided our lives into a pre-pandemic “Before Times” and the current New Normal, while reassuring the virus worshipers that Covid-19 and the disruptions it brought aren’t going away any time soon.
However, Americans have been hearing Chicken-Little-esque stories of food shortages since the pandemic began, which has not exactly inspired confidence in the words of the authorities any more than the predictions of millions of Covid-19 deaths within the first few months of the virus – calculations based on a faulty model.
This time, however, the sky may actually be falling. While some aspects of the prophecies shared by Meyersohn and his ilk are self-fulfilling – stores putting up Christmas displays earlier than ever are signaling to customers that they’d better do their shopping now, triggering dozens of stories about how festive goods are flying off the shelves at an unheard-of rate and sending shoppers into a panic – others are not so easily put to bed. Suspicious toilet paper shortages can be triggered at the drop of a hat, even though it’s one of the easiest and quickest consumer products to manufacture, and the onset of another TP Tsunami can be reliably interpreted as a signal that a country is to begin panicking immediately.
The problem this time around, however, appears to go deeper than neurotic marketing fails and cheap appeals to the fight-or-flight response. Despite throwing up industrial-strength information blockades, narrative managers are no longer capable of covering up logistical snarls like truckers’ strikes, both in the US and in its Five Eyes allies.
Some drivers’ unions oppose the mandatory vaccination regime imposed upon them by President Joe Biden, on top of the usual list of grievances, and they are joined by factory workers like those at the Kellogg Company in demanding better working conditions. With both corporate and rank-and-file workers convinced they have leverage against the other, the power struggle is likely to continue for months, to the disadvantage of the American people.
While it’s tempting to write off these manmade “shortages” as part of the seemingly endless array of pandemic-related fictional catastrophizing, they are very real. Photos of empty shelves at Walgreens, Rite Aid, Stop & Shop and other American drugstore and grocery chains are all over the internet, depicting sometimes puzzling absences – do potato chips really have such a high resale value? – and giving rise to a multitude of theories.
Not all the absences are silly, of course – the vitamin aisle is frequently picked clean for reasons that should be obvious during a disease outbreak – but the disappearance of kids’ toys from Walgreens shelves in Brooklyn, along with similar runs on non-perishable goods like bug spray and Ensure shakes, indicates there’s more at hand than needy locals stuffing their pockets out of desperation.
Many, particularly on the right, have blamed a ‘shoplifting pandemic’ for the supply shortages, arguing New York is going the way of San Francisco – where a lenient justice system and a massive drug epidemic have collided to produce a sprawling quasi-organized criminal underclass. Retail executives in New York have told The Wall Street Journal that these crime rings boost merchandise by day and sell it via e-tailing megacorporation Amazon by night, sparking the worst level of retail theft since records began in 1995 – a crime spree that has generated as much as $45 billion.
Certainly, the Cuomo and now Hochul administrations have created problems for themselves with virtue-signaling “catch and release” programs that incentivize shoplifting by allowing offenders to return to society the day of their arrest, often without paying a penny in bail. And it’s hard to teach repeat offenders that “stealing is wrong” when everyone from the lowest junkie to the highest central banker is lining their pockets with ill-gotten gains with no tangible adverse consequences. Nine of the inmates Hochul freed from the city’s Rikers Island prison with great fanfare last month have already been re-arrested, and many of those who are finally picked up for shoplifting are found to have dozens of arrests on their records already – and are soon released to steal again.
Authorities who might otherwise be prepared to help store owners in need have their hands full enforcing idiotic rules like Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recently amped-up mask mandate, slapping restaurants with killer fines for not demanding patrons’ Papers, Please™ upon entry, or babysitting the mayor’s Fifth Avenue Black Lives Matter mural.
And law enforcement is engaged in its own semi-involuntary stand-down as many police unions draw the line at mandatory jabs. Even the most egregious bootlickers are forced to choose where to place their loyalty – the (corrupt) government or the (corrupt) corporations that call upon the New York Police Department to do their dirty work? And even if cops desperately want to enforce anti-shoplifting laws, the New York state government has made that a lot more difficult, forbidding prosecutors from setting bail in petty larceny cases. What constitutes “petty” depends on the jurisdiction, but in San Francisco, anyone walking out of a store with $999 worth of goodies is permitted to go on their merry way.
New York’s supply chain issues, along with those of the rest of the country, are unlikely to go away anytime soon. Meanwhile, the government would be wise to stop shooting itself in the foot by demanding those workers who do show up with a willingness to work aren’t chased out with pitchforks and red tape for refusing the vaccine. While the ruling class may think it has control of the situation, there are more truckers, more nurses, more drugstore cashiers and more angry working-class Americans than there ever will be of their ruling class counterparts. The fallout will be less Chicken Little than game of chicken, and no matter who flinches first, the American public ultimately loses.
Wally Adeyemo, the Biden administration’s second-highest official in the Treasury Department, appeared to publicly blackmail the still-sizable portion of Americans who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 during a Thursday ABC interview, seemingly blaming them for the ongoing shortages of consumer goods that have led many to mock the president as ‘Empty Shelves Joe’.
Despite viral photos depicting thousands of cargo ships lined up at the Port of Los Angeles ready to unload their goods, Adeyemo claimed that the supply chain issues plaguing so many US retailers are an international issue and will only let up when a sufficient percentage of the country has been vaccinated.
Describing the disastrous economic conditions as “an economy that’s in transition,” Adeyemo acknowledged that “we are seeing high prices for some of the things that people have to buy.” While he praised the administration’s stimulus payments, he also pinned the blame squarely on the unvaccinated.
While the ABC reporter repeatedly suggested that the country’s shortages of toilet paper and other panic-buy items could be traced to international supply chain disruptions, a growing number of Americans are demanding answers regarding the weirdly specific nature of certain products missing from store shelves. Some have even voiced doubt concerning whether the shortages are being introduced deliberately, either to gin up hatred against the unvaccinated or keep Americans economically off-balance as they grow accustomed to the wild disruptions of the pandemic.
Adeyemo did the Biden cabinet no favors by adding fuel to the conspiratorial fire, explaining the primary reason Biden continued to push for everyone to be vaccinated was that only then could the White House “provide the resources the American people need to make it to the other side” of the supply chain problem.
Despite blaming the international shipping industry for empty shelves in the US, the media establishment has acknowledged that the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach - which together process 40% of the nation’s imports - had their busiest years on record last year, giving the lie to the notion that the products missing from American shelves simply don’t exist. However, many truckers working for shipping companies have balked at the idea of mandatory vaccination, leaving their firms’ fleets woefully understaffed, and others have gone on strike to demand better working conditions.
The Biden administration has attempted to address the supply chain problem by calling for the Port of Los Angeles to run 24 hours, but while he praised his own promised move as a “game changer,” the executive director of the port has made it clear that there is no timetable in place for the promised schedule shift. Meanwhile, Biden’s cabinet has come across as woefully out of touch - White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, for example, pooh-poohed the issue of empty shelves as a “high class” problem earlier this week, eliciting criticism from both Left and Right. And Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has been quietly vacationing on paternity leave since mid-August, leaving the country without even a semblance of logistical oversight as the cargo clog shows no signs of dissipating.
Labor shortages are being felt far beyond the US, though often for similar reasons. In Italy, thousands of protesters turned out to block cargo ships from unloading their bounty earlier this week. The demonstrators were outraged over the country’s adoption of a mandatory vax-to-work policy similar to that threatened by the Biden administration. And the UK government has begged lorry drivers to return to work, even luring foreign drivers in with temporary visas as the country frets over its own empty shelves issues.
Australian ‘truckies’ have united with other unions to exert pressure on the government, which has kept cities like Melbourne under lockdown for months despite vanishingly few reported cases of Covid-19. The government was already floating policies like ‘no jab, no job’ over a year ago and has led the way in leveraging the pandemic to turn Five Eyes ‘democracies’ into police states.
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