Biden Strikes Again!

 

One more time, Biden is supposedly going to rescue the country. This time he’s going to solve the supply chain mess. And you’ll never guess what he’s done: He’s “convinced” the port authorities to work 24/7 to unload the containers stuck on ships. Depending on whose estimates you accept, there are 500,000 to 1 million containers waiting to be unloaded.

Biden also boasted about how businesses were going to help him out:

The White House said that FedEx, UPS and Walmart also are committing to increase cargo-processing work hours so that the work never ceases. And Biden called on other major shipping and retail companies to follow.

‘Walmart is committing as much as a 50 percent increase in the use of off-peak hours over the next several weeks,’ Biden said.

‘Additionally, FedEx and UPS, two of our nation’s biggest freight movers, are committing today to significantly increase the amount of goods they’re moving at night… Their commitment to go all in on 24/7 operations means that businesses of all sizes will get their goods on the shelves faster and more reliably.’

I’m finding these commitments quite remarkable. First, there is a shortage of workers all over the country; that would include all kinds of cargo-processing workers, as well as truck drivers, who aren’t permitted to exceed limits on driving hours.

Where are all these executives at the ports and at companies going to find the people to pick up the pace, especially when the backlog is so huge?

Am I missing something? Or is Biden making up stories again?

Maybe I should have made the title “Biden Strikes Out Again.”

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  1. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Well it sounds pretty awesome. Like you, I agree  it seems dubious that this will change anything, but for the good of the country… I hope he is finally wildly even mildly successful, for the first time in his pResidency. 

    • #1
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Let’s go Brandon!

    • #2
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn: I’m finding these commitments quite remarkable. First, there is a shortage of workers all over the country; that would include all kinds of cargo-processing workers, as well as a truck drivers, who aren’t permitted to exceed limits on driving hours.

    The driving hour limits are easy. Joe will just get out his pen and sign an Executive Order decreeing more than 24 hours in a day.

    • #3
  4. Flapjack Lincoln
    Flapjack
    @Flapjack

    Happy-talk and wishcasting.

    • #4
  5. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Susan Quinn: I’m finding these commitments quite remarkable.

    “I promise you if I’m elected president, you’re going to see the single most important thing that changes America, we’re gonna cure cancer.” — Candidate Brandon, during an Ottumwa, Iowa campaign stop, 2020

    • #5
  6. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    I find it difficult to believe that big shippers like FedEx, UPS, and Walmart were ever an impediment to 24/7 operations. They’ve been doing 24/7 operations for years.

    The “off peak” work I did recently read about (Wall Street Journal) was that Walmart and other large retailers were chartering smaller container ships (1,000 containers per ship) for point-to-point shipping into smaller, less used ports (like Oakland and Portland) that the big container ships (20,000 containers per ship) can’t get into. That’s expensive, but avoids the congestion at Los Angeles and Long Beach. 

    • #6
  7. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Why are these companies not running wide open already?  Why does it take a POTUS threat to make them do what they should be doing anyway?  

    • #7
  8. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Well it sounds pretty awesome. Like you, I agree it seems dubious that this will change anything, but for the good of the country… I hope he is finally wildly even mildly successful, for the first time in his pResidency life.

    There you go.

    • #8
  9. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    I find it difficult to believe that big shippers like FedEx, UPS, and Walmart were ever an impediment to 24/7 operations. They’ve been doing 24/7 operations for years.

    The “off peak” work I did recently read about (Wall Street Journal) was that Walmart and other large retailers were chartering smaller container ships (1,000 containers per ship) for point-to-point shipping into smaller, less used ports (like Oakland and Portland) that the big container ships (20,000 containers per ship) can’t get into. That’s expensive, but avoids the congestion at Los Angeles and Long Beach.

    Are any container ships allowed into Portland?  As I recall, when I lived there – over 30 years ago now – they weren’t allowed, due to the Columbia River bar.  (The structure at the opening to the ocean, not a group of lawyers.)

    • #9
  10. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: I’m finding these commitments quite remarkable.

    “I promise you if I’m elected president, you’re going to see the single most important thing that changes America, we’re gonna cure cancer.” — Candidate Brandon, during an Ottumwa, Iowa campaign stop, 2020

    He did, he got rid of Trump

    • #10
  11. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Susan Quinn:

    One more time, Biden is supposedly going to rescue the country. This time he’s going to solve the supply chain mess. And you’ll never guess what he’s done: he’s “convinced” the port authorities to work 24/7 to unload the containers stuck on ships. Depending on whose estimates you accept, there are 500,000 to one million containers, waiting to be unloaded.

     

    So typical of big government types – create a problem (often by setting up ridiculous regulations) and then claim accolades for “solving” the problem he created. 

    • #11
  12. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    One more time, Biden is supposedly going to rescue the country. This time he’s going to solve the supply chain mess. And you’ll never guess what he’s done: he’s “convinced” the port authorities to work 24/7 to unload the containers stuck on ships. Depending on whose estimates you accept, there are 500,000 to one million containers, waiting to be unloaded.

     

    So typical of big government types – create a problem (often by setting up ridiculous regulations) and then claim accolades for “solving” the problem he created.

    Someone else posted about “Munchausen By Proxy.”

    • #12
  13. Chris Oler Coolidge
    Chris Oler
    @ChrisO

    Eh, well, what did the Soviet factory managers always promise? Whatever the Politburo demanded.

    And they produced it, too…on paper, just not in reality.

    • #13
  14. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Joe’s gonna get right on this, just as soon as he closes some more pipeline projects so the transportation industry will switch to all-electric vehicles and get rid of those climate destroying gasoline and diesel trucks. He has to keep his priorities straight.

    • #14
  15. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    Got a whole lot of illegal aliens with nothing better to do…

    • #15
  16. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Dotorimuk (View Comment):

    Got a whole lot of illegal aliens with nothing better to do…

    Just what we need, more illegal, unlicensed, uninsured drivers.  And with Big Rigs, yet.

    • #16
  17. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    They’re already working 24/7.  What, can they make them work 25/8?

    • #17
  18. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Flicker (View Comment):

    They’re already working 24/7. What, can they make them work 25/8?

    He has a pen, and a phone.  If he can remember which end is which.  (For both pen and phone.)

    • #18
  19. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Chris Oler (View Comment):

    Eh, well, what did the Soviet factory managers always promise? Whatever the Politburo demanded.

    And they produced it, too…on paper, just not in reality.

    The workers joined in “they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.”

    • #19
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    The “off peak” work I did recently read about (Wall Street Journal) was that Walmart and other large retailers were chartering smaller container ships (1,000 containers per ship) for point-to-point shipping into smaller, less used ports (like Oakland and Portland) that the big container ships (20,000 containers per ship) can’t get into. That’s expensive, but avoids the congestion at Los Angeles and Long Beach. 

    We’ll be successful in spite of him!

    • #20
  21. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Flicker (View Comment):

    They’re already working 24/7. What, can they make them work 25/8?

    Actually, until about last week, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were not operating 24 hours a day. Traditionally that was because of longshoremen union rules (not sure if that’s the current limitation). The longshoremen’s union has traditionally held a lot of power to dictate how things are done at the port.

    There are still a host of other issues that might interfere with greater throughput: Too many empty containers sitting in port awaiting return trips to Asia (not enough space for a truck returning an empty to drop off the empty); not enough chassis (the frames with wheels on which the containers are placed to be towed by a truck); rigid rules governing time slots for when a particular trucker can pick up a container; (possibly) not enough truck drivers or trucks. 

    • #21
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    They’re already working 24/7. What, can they make them work 25/8?

    Actually, until about last week, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were not operating 24 hours a day. Traditionally that was because of longshoremen union rules (not sure if that’s the current limitation). The longshoremen’s union has traditionally held a lot of power to dictate how things are done at the port.

    There are still a host of other issues that might interfere with greater throughput: Too many empty containers sitting in port awaiting return trips to Asia (not enough space for a truck returning an empty to drop off the empty); not enough chassis (the frames with wheels on which the containers are placed to be towed by a truck); rigid rules governing time slots for when a particular trucker can pick up a container; (possibly) not enough truck drivers or trucks.

    Let’s hear it for the unions! Yeah!!!!

    • #22
  23. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    California has passed laws eliminating the ability of owner/operators to drive in the state, and mandating that trucks older than a certain age (can’t remember the year) aren’t allowed on sacred California roads. Add that to the union requirements and you can see how hard it is to operate in California ports. DeSantis has removed as many restrictions as he can in Florida, and Florida might very well save the holiday shopping season if people will stop trying to parallel park boats in the Panama Canal.

    • #23
  24. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    They’re already working 24/7. What, can they make them work 25/8?

    Actually, until about last week, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were not operating 24 hours a day. Traditionally that was because of longshoremen union rules (not sure if that’s the current limitation). The longshoremen’s union has traditionally held a lot of power to dictate how things are done at the port.

    There are still a host of other issues that might interfere with greater throughput: Too many empty containers sitting in port awaiting return trips to Asia (not enough space for a truck returning an empty to drop off the empty); not enough chassis (the frames with wheels on which the containers are placed to be towed by a truck); rigid rules governing time slots for when a particular trucker can pick up a container; (possibly) not enough truck drivers or trucks.

    Correction – Long Beach is still not operating 24/7. From the Long Beach terminal’s website, this coming weekend, truck gates are open only 8.5 hours each day (7 am – 4:30 pm), and the Sunday hours are apparently new. For at least the next week, the gates are closed 2:15 am to 7 am. From what I’ve read, many truck drivers have been clamoring for the gates to be open in the wee hours (2:15 – 7 am) because without daytime LA traffic, they could make more round trips in their legal driving time limit. The truckers are paid by the trip not the time, so if they can make more round trips in a working day they make more money. [I suspect though finding operators for the cranes may be a limiting factor. The union has kept a pretty tight lid on the number of trained operators to keep wages high.]

    • #24
  25. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    The container freight system as a whole is basically a network of queues.  There is a queue of goods at Asian factories which are waiting for containers to be loaded into.  There is a queue of containers at those same factories waiting for ships to take them to their designations.  At the other end of the ocean segment, there is a queue of ships waiting to unload. Then a queue of unloaded containers waiting for trucks or trains to take them further toward US destinations.  In the case of rail transport, there is a queue of trains waiting for space in a railyard (in Chicago, for example) so that they can be unloaded.  (Dozens of trains waiting outside Chicago at present)  And there is a queue of containers in flatbed railcard at the railyard, waiting for trucks to be loaded onto and for workers to do the loading.  

    Notice that the container itself is not freed up until an even later stage of this process, when the container is unloaded at a Wal-Mart distribution center or wherever. At present, there is a big shortage of actual containers.  (Mostly made in China)

    The system, even at a conceptual level, is far beyond the understanding of Joe Biden and probably also of his Transportation Secretary.

     

    • #25
  26. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    David Foster (View Comment):

    The container freight system as a whole is basically a network of queues. There is a queue of goods at Asian factories which are waiting for containers to be loaded into. There is a queue of containers at those same factories waiting for ships to take them to their designations. At the other end of the ocean segment, there is a queue of ships waiting to unload. Then a queue of unloaded containers waiting for trucks or trains to take them further toward US destinations. In the case of rail transport, there is a queue of trains waiting for space in a railyard (in Chicago, for example) so that they can be unloaded. (Dozens of trains waiting outside Chicago at present) And there is a queue of containers in flatbed railcard at the railyard, waiting for trucks to be loaded onto and for workers to do the loading.

    Notice that the container itself is not freed up until an even later stage of this process, when the container is unloaded at a Wal-Mart distribution center or wherever. At present, there is a big shortage of actual containers. (Mostly made in China)

    The system, even at a conceptual level, is far beyond the understanding of Joe Biden and probably also of his Transportation Secretary.

     

    Thank you for shedding additional light on this topic, @davidfoster. I didn’t know about the container shortage. Of course they are mostly made in China. [sarc]

    • #26
  27. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    David Foster (View Comment):
    The system, even at a conceptual level, is far beyond the understanding of Joe Biden and probably also of his Transportation Secretary.

    I understand that as mayor of South Bend, Pete B. demonstrated a lack of understanding of even the most basic of transportation issues, like keeping the streets in decent repair. 

    • #27
  28. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    The rail/intermodal part of the problem is described in a letter by Burlington Northern CEO Katie Farmer, in a letter to the Surface Transportation Board.  Excerpt:

    The challenges being experienced across the entire supply chain that I raised in early July are now well documented and continuing. As even more freight is being put into the global intermodal pipeline, the shortage of chassis, drivers, and labor to support distribution center unloading is causing shipments to back up into rail facilities. The backlog is not limited to our physical intermodal terminals either—at any given time we have around 30 trains (holding around 7,500 containers) staged for prolonged periods outside our intermodal facilities because there simply is not space in our hub to get those containers unloaded for pickup until the appropriate party coordinates the pickup of the older containers for delivery to processing locations.

    https://www.railwayage.com/intermodal/bnsf-to-stb-on-maintaining-supply-chain-integrity-during-periods-of-heightened-volumes/ 

    • #28
  29. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Chris Oler (View Comment):

    Eh, well, what did the Soviet factory managers always promise? Whatever the Politburo demanded.

    And they produced it, too…on paper, just not in reality.

    There’s a great book by Gennady Andreev-Khomiakov, who served as deputy manager in a Stalin-era Soviet factory.  Under the leadership of a dynamic plant manager, the factory made great strides in productivity–but their key problem was obtaining raw materials–especially lumber.

    Gennady, whose father had been in the lumber trade before the revolution, was contemptuous of the chaos into which the industry had been reduced by the Soviets:

    The free and “unplanned” and therefore ostensibly chaotic character of lumber production before the revolution in reality possessed a definite order. As the season approached, hundreds of thousands of forest workers gathered in small artels of loggers, rafters, and floaters, hired themselves out to entrepreneurs through their foremen, and got all the work done. The Bolsheviks, concerned with “putting order” into life and organizing it according to their single scheme, destroyed that order and introduced their own–and arrived at complete chaos in lumbering.

    As Gennady says:

    Such is the immutable law. The forceful subordination of life’s variety into a single mold will be avenged by that variety’s becoming nothing but chaos and disorder.

    The above Immutable Law should be posted, in bold type, above the desk of every politician and every bureaucrats.

    Gennady’s memoir, Bitter Waters, is an important work, unfortunately somewhat pricey. I reviewed it in some depth here:

    https://ricochet.com/925949/running-a-factory-under-soviet-socialism/

    • #29
  30. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    How is 24/7 at the ports going to help if the trucking, warehouses and other industries don’t operate 24/7?  Is joebidenstan going to give them free workers, equipment, etc.?

    • #30