Why the big port backups
With dozens of bulk carriers floating around off our coasts waiting to berth and be discharged one wonders what changed. There seem to be several factors in play. In no particular order:
Increase in demand for goods. I guess with everybody sitting home due to the Great WuFlu Terror people have spent more time home shopping online. Pro tip: Don’t drink and shop online.
Officially there are no outbreaks of the WuFlu in China. Your Irascible Correspondent, however, knows otherwise. Mrs. Irascible runs a small import wholesale business. Earlier this year (she only orders twice a year) an order took six months to arrive in her warehouse in part because a major Chinese shipping port was shut down to to just such an outbreak.
A commenter at another site remarks: “Saw an article from anonymous dock worker said they were unloading more than usual said AI program that predicts need for goods says there is no demand so sits there in warehouse.” Based on the previous paragraph I can tell you that Mrs. Irascible didn’t think the Customs warehouses were any less busy than usual when she went to pick up her stuff.
Then there’s this:
Finally, it appears that California law is a big obstruction (unexpectedly). First, the ports prohibit the use of any truck more than ten years old. Further, AB 5, which made life difficult if not impossible for gig workers (and Uber drivers) has had the same effect on independent truckers. Now, based on these categories and top-selling semi-trucks (tractor unit) in the United States, the average brand new semi-truck pricing is from $110,000 to $195,000. A new container trailer chassis will run between $9,000 to $12,000.
Of course, you can’t ever discount enemy action.