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Los Angeles port to run 24/7 to clear long queues of cargo ships ahead of Christmas

·2-min read
Trucks wait in line in front of containers at the Port of Los Angeles on October 14  (AFP via Getty Images)
Trucks wait in line in front of containers at the Port of Los Angeles on October 14 (AFP via Getty Images)

One of the largest ports in the US will provide a 24-hour service in an effort to clear a backlog of cargo ships, President Joe Biden has announced.

The Port of Los Angeles, in California, will handle more goods overnight to help ease supply chain issues threatening to disrupt the holiday season.

Mr Biden said the Port of Los Angeles would join the Port of Long Beach in ramping up round-the-clock operations to unload an estimated 500,000 containers waiting on cargo ships offshore.

Three of the country's largest carriers of goods - Wal-Mart, FedEx and UPS – will also work extended hours to help ease supply chain issues, the White House said.

Mr Biden said: "The commitments being made today are a sign of major progress...Now we need the rest of the private sector chain to step up.

"Our goal is not only to get through this immediate bottleneck, but to address the long standing weaknesses in our transportation supply chain that this pandemic has exposed."

The ports handle 40 per cent of all cargo entering the US, but have faced bottlenecks as the global economy struggles with supply chain issues in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic.

Similar supply chain issues have been reported in the UK, where a critical shortage of HGV drivers has disrupted the delivery of food to supermarkets and fuel to petrol stations.

Boris Johnson was last month forced to temporarily shelve post-Brexit immigration restrictions to grant temporary visas to hundreds of foreign drivers.

A shipping bottleneck at the LA port has led to supply chain issues (AFP via Getty Images)
A shipping bottleneck at the LA port has led to supply chain issues (AFP via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the White House admitted Americans may face higher prices and empty shelves this Christmas due to supply chain issues.

A senior White House official told Reuters there will be "things people can't get" over the Christmas period and there was "a certain need for patience to help get through a relatively short period of time".

White House spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters Biden could not guarantee there would be no holiday disruptions. But she added: "What we can do is use every lever at the federal government level to reduce delays."

In a press conference on Wednesday, Mr Biden insisted that he would prioritise helping US firms to manufacture products on home soil rather than rely on imports from foreign countries.

"Never again should we have to rely too heavily on one company or one country or one person in the world, particularly countries that don't share our values," he added.

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