Joe Biden and his Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg are leading the Democrats in continuing to deflect attention from the supply chain crisis and hide the ongoing traffic pileup at California’s ports.
Biden Administration officials have joined California state officials at recent press appearances to boast about their claimed “solutions” to the crisis at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. They have talked up a 37 percent reduction in containers stacked on docks and ready to move out and a 40 percent reduction in the number of container ships within 40 miles of the two ports waiting to unload cargo.
While officials claim they have solved the problems at the ports, the truth goes further than the cherry-picked stats. The reality is that the backup is worse and has been moved further out of sight.
In addition to a long line of ships further away from the ports waiting to berth, the containers on land have been moved to temporary storage sites away from the docks. Those containers are being omitted from the official listing of containers waiting to be transported to their final destinations inside the country.
Since late October, the line of ships waiting to unload had grown by 30 percent when government officials announced fines for shipping companies allowing containers to sit too long on land. That has led to around 150,000 additional 20-foot containers lingering offshore. That increase in waiting containers significantly outweighs the reduction of containers sitting on the docks.
Meanwhile, wait times for container ships to unload more than doubled, from an average of 11 days to around 24 days.
Officials have touted the reduction in the number of ships within 40 miles of ports, even though most of them now are further than that distance away and waiting to unload. Spreading ships further out into the Pacific avoids the embarrassing photos of groups of large container ships sitting still close to shore.
The statistical maneuvers by Democratic officials have not done anything to address the fundamental causes of long wait times and container bottlenecks. Substantial relief will only come through solutions that move containers out, like allowing more trucks and drivers to travel to and from the California docks.