By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka announced that it will take time and collaboration from the over 125,000 companies at the port to ramp up productivity and fix the supply chain congestion.

“It’s not a single lever we can pull today to open up all the gates, but what we’re doing is trying to squeeze every minute, every hour of efficiency out of this port complex that we can, sharing information, building on those strong decades-long relationships, and with the strength of the federal government behind this, the work here will be fast; it has to be,” Seroka said. “There’s no timeline when suddenly we will wake up and everything will be 24/7.” 

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On Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced that the Port of Los Angeles will begin operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week in an effort to clear the bottleneck of supplies and hopes to save the holiday shopping season and speed up the nation’s economic recovery. 

The Port of Los Angeles and nearby Port of Long Beach are responsible for about 40% of the nation’s imports. According to the White House, the two ports are on track for record container traffic this year with cargo in Los Angeles up 30% and 20% more in Long Beach. Long Beach has already transitioned to 24/7 operations.

The Port of Los Angeles recorded the busiest September in its 114-year history. With one vessel still counting its cargo, Seroka estimates that the port moved 898,941 20-foot equivalent units from the previous record of 883,625. Driven by consumer demand, the port has processed more than 8.1 million units so far this year, an 26.4% increase from 2020.

On Thursday, there were 62 ships waiting to enter both ports with 25 more ships en route over the next three days. Ships averaged 12 days anchored offshore before docking at the port.

“For the president of the United States to be focused on activity at your port, the goods movement chain in general, is really unprecedented and that really shows the direct link between our nation’s economy and the goods movement chain, which starts with our ports,” said U.S Port Envoy John Porcari.

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Porcari was appointed to the Supply Chain Disruption task Force in August.

The port will double the number of hours that cargo is transferred from container ships to trucks and aim to unload 3,500 more containers during the night each week. According to the White House, Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union will work the extra shifts.

On Wednesday, major retailers and shippers such as Walmart, Target, FedEx and UPS promised to speed up operations to clear cargo out of the ports and free up more space on the docks. 

“Over the last several weeks we’ve secured commitments from some of the largest of those cargo owners to move to a 24/7 distribution model,” said Porcari. “That really helps the nation, it helps clear the docks and I think all of us know it’s certainly been clear from conversations over the last several weeks that as a nation, we need to move to a 24/7 supply chain. 

 

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)