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rharshberger

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If only it were that easy. The real reason for the jam is that California and the EPA enacted[consent decree] restrictive emissions laws that about 50% of the trucking fleet couldn't meet. They are not allowed by law to operate in California ports. This was in 2020 and the storage sites are only now getting full, which is why there is a backup in the harbor. They can't empty the container yards fast enough because of this totally manmade bottleneck.
The big companies, Amazon, Home Depot, Walmart et al saw this coming years ago and have started shipping to other ports, but companies that have to buy space from shipping brokers are screwed. Amazon has its own branded ships that go to Houston for one example.
The pesky hours of service rules also get in the way of truckers being more productive aka moving more stuff per driver. Most professional drivers are nearly always pushing max hours and they can only drive so fast.
 

OverTheTop

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UPS seems to be struggling even with their computer system. I got a delivery of parts, sent via UPS, and the notification of delivery came five days later. Even their interim tracking details were running that far behind.
 

NateB

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The pesky hours of service rules also get in the way of truckers being more productive aka moving more stuff per driver. Most professional drivers are nearly always pushing max hours and they can only drive so fast.
I work 12+ hour shifts now with 14 -16 hour days being common enough. A few times a month, I end up commuting 80 miles to a satellite base which adds another 3 hours to my day. I know I'm not as sharp at the end of day as when I start. I used to be assigned 24 hour shifts and commonly worked 48 or more. We didn't always get to sleep, yet I was still expected to drive safe and think clearly. It can be brutal and downright scary when you drive home and don't remember parts of the commute. Efficiency aside, these rules for duty time are written in blood.
 

rharshberger

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I work 12+ hour shifts now with 14 -16 hour days being common enough. A few times a month, I end up commuting 80 miles to a satellite base which adds another 3 hours to my day. I know I'm not as sharp at the end of day as when I start. I used to be assigned 24 hour shifts and commonly worked 48 or more. We didn't always get to sleep, yet I was still expected to drive safe and think clearly. It can be brutal and downright scary when you drive home and don't remember parts of the commute. Efficiency aside, these rules for duty time are written in blood.
I bet your pilots though are like truck drivers and their ours are very limited. A driver is allowed 11 hours of driving and it must be followed by 10 hours off duty (there are a very few exceptions) once they hit 60/70 hours of driving in a 7/8 days they have to a 36 (32?) hour consecutive off to reset their "clock" to zero hours and the 60/70 hours is a rolling so they cant drive more than 14 days straight. I probably screwed a bunch of it up as its been quite a while since I have had to worry about HOS rules with my current job.
 

NateB

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The pilots do have rules similar to commercial drivers. They work 12 hour shifts on duty which can be extended to 14, however they can only be flying for 8 hours during the shift. They have to be off for 10 hours before returning to duty.

In reality even if we have back to back calls all day, it is difficult to get 8 hours of flight time when you account for the time to pick up and prepare a patient for flight and then drop them off and transfer care to the receiving team.
 

teepot

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I saw two of the longest trains I have ever seen today. From the lake bed you can see the tracks in the distance. I wasn't the only one to notice as I heard others talk about the long train. Both trains were 95% containers. Both heading south along I 15 toward LA.
 

Dipstick

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Another compounding factor on the railways, at least in Canada is the stubborn insistence by eco wing nuts to fight any pipeline addition or expansion of existing pipes through regulatory means. The result is oil being shipped by rail instead, messing up the movement of ag products like grain.
 

AHansom

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One big problem is CA has restricted the use of older trucks in CA.. Not even that old, 2010 and older or retrofitted with 2011 emmisions equipment. What good is running the port 24/7 if trucks are not available for use inside CA?

Amazon and other large company's have been working on a solution for a few years. Bulk freighters with onboard cranes can use smaller ports.
 

Bill S

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This is all well and good, but until the trucking and railroads correct their situations, it probably isn't going to help all that much. I wonder if there's been any shuffling of high-priced items/priority items to passenger aircraft/cargo aircraft?
 

afadeev

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If the .gov and the unions wanted the CURRENT backlog solved, there is no doubt in my mind that a solution wouldn't be in place in a week. Two at the most.
What's wrong with having Capitalism take care of its growing pains?
Why run crying to the nanny state every time things get a little hot and heavy?

Not enough truckers - raise the salaries, and you'll have too many!
Too many containers arriving at the same time - prioritize by contract value, and leave fluff sitting in container storage yards until distribution capacity is scaled up!

None of this is THAT big of a deal.

So many problems worldwide mostly caused by corporations and greed. :(
Right, comrade, I don't supposed you have a better economic model in your back pocket, do you?

About 400 years ago, human civilization on Earth began population growth, governance, business and technological decisions which brought us inevitably to this point. From this perspective, we can look back and see how we did everything wrong. 🙄
Guys, all these just because of a traffic jam at the ports?
Really?!?
1634443317003.png


As to why we are having bottlenecks at the ports, this thread has been great at illuminating a lot of supply chain choke points, and even floated a few conspiracy theories.
The most obvious point remains unmentioned- what are the chances that our economy has roared back into a higher gear, and we are just buying a LOT MORE stuff than we did before?

"About 25% more cargo was shipped from Asia to the US in the first eight months of 2021 compared with the same period in 2019 pre-pandemic, according to Container Trades Statistics. The volumes have largely remained the same between Asia and Europe."​


So we've ordered more sh%t than usual. So it clogged our ports.
So it might take a little longer to arrive.
No biggie.
We'll get over it.

 

Banzai88

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What's wrong with having Capitalism take care of its growing pains?
Why run crying to the nanny state every time things get a little hot and heavy?

Not enough truckers - raise the salaries, and you'll have too many!
Too many containers arriving at the same time - prioritize by contract value, and leave fluff sitting in container storage yards until distribution capacity is scaled up!

None of this is THAT big of a deal.
I think that you misunderstand my point, I agree with you that the nanny state is to blame for a lot of our woes, and CERTAINLY for a lot of our expenses. If the .gov got out of the way with a lot of the BS regulation, and the resultant cost of compliance and reporting, a lot of this would ease up rather quickly.

Couple that with the Faustian bargain that the .gov has historically had with most of the unions, and it sets up just the sort of issues that we're seeing now.
 

afadeev

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I think that you misunderstand my point, I agree with you that the nanny state is to blame for a lot of our woes, and CERTAINLY for a lot of our expenses. If the .gov got out of the way with a lot of the BS regulation, and the resultant cost of compliance and reporting, a lot of this would ease up rather quickly.
I would agree that regulation imposes additional costs on business, but I haven't heard anyone explaining how any additional regulations can account for the increase in port delays. If some new and significantly restrictive regulation ahs been issued recently, I would be happy to be corrected.
Otherwise, regulations are what they are - some good, some bad, many utterly outdated and irrelevant.
However, the vast majority of them were in place the year prior, and the year prior to that.

What appears to have changed are:
1). Increase in volume of goods being shipped (due to the economic recovery in the US)
2). Reluctance of workforce (in many industries) to take additional Covid exposure risks without additional compensation.
3). Ineptitude of many supply-chain companies in dealing with #1 and #2 hitting them simultaneously. I suspect this quality has been in place for a long time, it's just that this has been exposed for all to see via #1 + #2.

Couple that with the Faustian bargain that the .gov has historically had with most of the unions, and it sets up just the sort of issues that we're seeing now.
I am not a particularly big fan of the unions, and have never been a member of one.
However, I think it's a gross oversimplification to suggest that all of the challenges can be addressed by some magical Government decree to make the Unions jump and to back-flips.

We have a bunch of ports on the East Coast, and the traffic there is under control.
Port of Newark is also managed by a government authority (Port Authority of NY/NJ), and everything is unionized here as well. And then some. But everything is working normally, and good are flowing.
The difference?
We are not handling much of the traffic increase from China, which is what's hitting the West Coast ports.

Back to my original point - the economy is booming, and so is the trade volume.
Both imports and exports are up, which is a good thing.

Why the sudden panic?
Has trade volume been added to someone's "culture wars" menu, and I missed the memo?

a
 
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Dotini

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I would agree that regulation imposes additional costs on business, but I haven't heard anyone explaining how any additional regulations can account for the increase in port delays. If some new and significantly restrictive regulation ahs been issued recently, I would be happy to be corrected.
My longtime friend Wayne is a retired longshoreman who worked his entire career at the Port of Seattle. He informs me that the port's capacity has been reduced by over half since it switched to automation from manual (longshore union) operation of the cranes.
 

afadeev

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afadeev said:
I would agree that regulation imposes additional costs on business, but I haven't heard anyone explaining how any additional regulations can account for the increase in port delays. If some new and significantly restrictive regulation ahs been issued recently, I would be happy to be corrected.
My longtime friend Wayne is a retired longshoreman who worked his entire career at the Port of Seattle. He informs me that the port's capacity has been reduced by over half since it switched to automation from manual (longshore union) operation of the cranes.
Interesting observation.
Are you implying that automating cranes' operation was imposed by some government regulation?
Or, perhaps, longshoreman detest automation of their jobs, and are sabotaging the automated cranes?
:rabbitdontknow:
a
 

boomtube-mk2

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Truckers are some of the most polite and safe drivers on the road. To watch them drive through small towns and crowded streets is amazing.
Whether or not the drivers are polite and safe is almost irrelevant, those small town streets and the businesses along them were never laid out to handle 53foot-long trailers with modern super-tractors hauling them, they were meant to be serviced by short-haul box-cabs that picked up the goods from the town's RR freight station.
But that went away in the late 40's early 50's.
 
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boomtube-mk2

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The key to fixing it is to get everyone together and say “We were paying $X per load and that hasn’t been working. We’re going to pay $2X (or whatever) until we clear the backlog. Truckers who come to the graveyard shift will get a 25% bonus.”
We have reached the point now where there isn't enough truckers willing or able to do the job no matter what they are getting paid.
We have reached the point where if we doubled or even tripled the number of trucks and drivers, the outgoing road systems, from the ports and inland/midcontinent intermodal yards, couldn't handle the traffic required to make a dent in this backlog.
 

Pem Tech

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Whether or not the drivers are polite and safe is almost irrelevant, those small town streets and the businesses along them were never laid out to handle 53foot-long trailers with modern super-tractors hauling them, they were meant to be serviced by short-haul box-cabs that picked up the goods from the town's RR freight station.
But that went away in the late 40's early 50's.
Irrelevant, your elephant, my elephant.
Gonna leave it lie.
PEACE OUT!
 

Bill S

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We have reached the point now where there isn't enough truckers willing or able to do the job no matter what they are getting paid.
We have reached the point where if we doubled or even tripled the number of trucks and drivers, the outgoing road systems, from the ports and inland/midcontinent intermodal yards, couldn't handle the traffic required to make a dent in this backlog.
Which sounds pretty worrisome. In your opinion, what would have to be done to get us out of this situation (assuming that those in charge actually were willing to do whatever needed)?
 

Peartree

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Whether or not the drivers are polite and safe is almost irrelevant, those small town streets and the businesses along them were never laid out to handle 53foot-long trailers with modern super-tractors hauling them, they were meant to be serviced by short-haul box-cabs that picked up the goods from the town's RR freight station.
But that went away in the late 40's early 50's.
If that is truly a problem, that, honestly, can be easily fixed. Much of Europe was built with narrow twisting streets designed to be serviced by ox carts. Tractor trailers simply won't fit, so those localities have regulations that limit what vehicles can be on their roads. Venice, Italy has parts of the city (the old part) that can only be serviced by water, and closer to home, Mackinaw Island in Michigan bans (most) internal combustion engined vehicles during the summer and is served by horses and wagons. Heck, there are neighborhoods in Akron, Ohio that require the garbage trucks to park at the ends of the street, and pick up all their trash cans with electric carts to reduce early morning noise. If oversized trucks are a problem on undersized streets, it's either because the authorities *want* them there, or because those same authorities lack the will to fix the problem.
 

Michael L

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About 6 - 8 times a year I make a 2,000 mile round trip home to see the kids and grandkids and then back. I tend to stay away from the interstate when I drive, it's too boring. I've spent my whole life driving to / from jobsites. 100,000 miles a year on a pickup wasn't uncommon in the first 10 years after high school. It's pretty shocking to see the decline of towns that I've driven through for 40+ years. Businesses closing up, buildings in disrepair. Farm communities that were once thriving have been in a slow decline. Machine shops boarded up and gone. When I worked in western PA (Newell) it was a big shock to see the steel industry shut down. It's one thing to hear or read about it, it really hits home when you see it.

We need to get back to making our own goods.
 
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