On Friday The U.K. Daily Mail reported that dozens of cargo ships anchored off the coast of New York City and Los Angeles are experiencing waiting times to unload as long as three or four weeks. The ports lack the manpower to unload the ships.
The article reports:
Dozens of cargo ships anchored off the coasts of Los Angeles and New York face shocking wait times of up to four weeks and railyards and trucking routes are hopelessly clogged due to the lack of manpower to unload goods – with an expert warning that the government needs to intervene or face spiraling inflation and unemployment.
The backlog of billions of dollars of toys, clothing, electronics, vehicles, and furniture comes as the demand for consumer goods hit its highest point in history as consumers stay home instead of spending money on travel and entertainment.
Supply chains have lagged far behind consumer demand due to a lack of manpower at American ports and the restrictions that came with the COVID-19 outbreak early last year. These constraints, which include social distancing and mandatory quarantines, have severely limited the number and ability of port workers to do their jobs.
This is another example of the bad things that happen when the government gets involved in business.
As Milton Friedman once stated:
“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.”
The article concludes:
In an open letter on Wednesday, the workers groups warned that fragmented and inconsistent pandemic restrictions around the world have thrown global shipping into chaos.
The letter was signed by the union bosses of IRU, the world road transport organization; IATA, the International Air Transport Association; ICS, the International Chamber of Shipping; and ITF, the International Transport Workers’ Federation.
‘We are witnessing unprecedented disruptions and global delays and shortages on essential goods including electronics, food, fuel and medical supplies,’ the shipping workers warned.
‘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,’ the group said. ‘Their continued mistreatment is adding pressure on an already crumbling global supply chain.’
‘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,’ the letter said.
‘Flights have been restricted and aviation workers have faced the inconsistency of border, travel, restrictions, and vaccine restrictions/requirements,’ it added.
‘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,’ the workers said.
The groups called on governments to grant freedom of movement for transport workers and prioritize them for vaccinations.
It may be that the coming shortages are being accidentally created by our government, but there has been so much discontent sown by the Biden administration during their time in office, I am beginning to wonder what it accidental and what is on purpose. Is it possible to mess up our country so thoroughly in nine months accidentally or does it have to be intentional?