News & Politics

Clogged California Ports Are Finally Getting Some Much-Needed Help. Will It Be Enough?

Nick Ut

More than a week after President Joe Biden announced his ineffective plan for the clogged Los Angeles ports to increase their work hours, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has finally issued an executive order “to address state, national and global supply chain challenges” at the p;]ports.

According to an official Governor’s Office press release, Newsom’s Executive Order N-19-21 “directs state agencies to continue coordinating with the Biden-Harris Administration Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to address state, national and global supply chain challenges. The executive order also directs the Department of Finance to work with state agencies to develop longer-term solutions that support port operations and goods movement for consideration in the January 10 Governor’s Budget, which may include port and transportation infrastructure improvements, electrification of the goods movement system from port to delivery, and workforce development.”

The executive order also “directs state agencies to identify state-owned properties and other locations that could be available to address short-term storage needs once goods are unloaded from ships; to identify priority freight routes to be considered for a temporary exemption to current gross vehicle limits to allow for trucks to carry additional goods; and to create workforce training and education programs.”

Related: Logistics Expert Says He Knows How to Solve the Supply-Chain Crisis. Will Biden Listen?

Sounding similar to logistics expert Ryan Petersen’s five-step plan to fix the bottleneck at the Los Angeles ports I wrote about here a few days ago, one can’t help but wonder if Newsom was actually listening. Who knows for sure?

Someone who does appear to have heard is Long Beach City Manager Tom Modica who said Friday in a press release that it had “recently come to the City’s attention the Municipal Code contains zoning provisions that limit the number and/or height of shipping container storage, that if relaxed for a short time could provide some assistance during this national crisis.”

“Given this current national emergency and the Governor’s Executive Order to take necessary steps to alleviate the impacts on the system,” the press release said. “The City Manager will temporarily waive enforcement of current shipping container stacking and height limits for a period of 90 days from October 22, 2021. During this period, affected operations will be allowed to stack up to four (4) shipping containers without being cited for a Code violation.”

While this waiver only applies to properties currently zoned to allow shipping container stacking, it should help alleviate some of the container back-ups at the ports. These steps are certainly good news for our ports, our nation’s supply chain, and the American consumer, however, there’s much more that needs to be done. These steps are vital to getting our ports working again. It’s so detrimental to the world economy if the ports don’t work because every company that buys or sells physical goods internationally will fail if we allow the supply chain of our globalized economy to collapse.