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What’s behind the congestion at U.S. ports

The Port of Los Angeles, the busiest port in North America, noticed file quantity in 2021.

Container quantity on the port, together with imports like furnishings and attire, surged to a file 10.6 million TEUs in 2021, virtually 16% greater than the earlier yr.

A TEU, or twenty-foot equal unit, is the trade commonplace to measure cargo capability for ships and terminals. One 20 foot container can maintain about 400 flat-screen TVs.

However together with that quantity got here an array of headwinds impacting everybody from retail shops and huge producers to port-side communities. 

As of February 16 there was a backlog of greater than 70 container ships drifting, sluggish steaming or ready outdoors the Port of Los Angeles. On the identical time there have been virtually 62,000 empty containers on the port’s terminal and off-dock depots.

“All through the final two years, you’ve got had economies opening and shutting and ports doing the identical, and factories and all the remaining, staff getting sick, truckers being out of labor and all of these little mismatches, together with some form of elementary ones, between totally different nations have thrown our provide chains out of steadiness,” mentioned Scott Lincicome, a senior fellow on the Cato Institute.

Port congestion additionally has well being implications for the encompassing neighborhood.

With the logjam of ships idling close to the San Pedro Bay ports in October, air pollution elevated to roughly the equal of the emissions from 5.8 million passenger vehicles.

Vans, trains and terminal gear are one other supply of air pollution. Freight transportation is linked to greater charges of bronchial asthma, most cancers and different diseases, in line with the Clear Air Coaltion.

“The ports are an enormous financial hub, there is no denying it, there is no denying their world significance, however the affect on folks’s well being, the affect on folks’s high quality of life, and the affect on how lengthy they reside may not be denied,” mentioned Chris Chavez, Deputy Coverage Director, Coalition for Clear Air.

And it has had worldwide implications, too. In November, 11.5% of global vessel capacity was, in impact, offline as ships waited in queues, in line with Sea-Intelligence, a Copenhagen-based maritime information agency. 

So, what’s inflicting the bottlenecks at West Coast ports and what steps are being taken to ease the congestion? Watch the video to study extra.

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