Why are goods stacking up at U.S. ports?

This post is by Phil Price, not Andrew.

I keep seeing articles that say U.S. ports are all backed up, hundreds of ships can’t even offload because there’s no place to put their cargo, etc. And then the news articles will quote some people saying ‘this is a global problem’, ‘there is no single solution’, and so on. I find this a bit perplexing, although I feel like my perplexification could be cleared up with some simple data. How many containers per day typically arrived at U.S. ports pre-pandemic, and how many are arriving now? How many truck drivers were on the road on a typical day in the U.S. pre-pandemic, and how many are on the road now? How many freight train employees were at work on a typical day pre-pandemic, and how many are at work now?

I understand that there are problems all over the place: various cities and countries go in and out of lockdown, companies have gone out of business, factories have closed, there are shortages of raw materials and machine parts etc. due to previous and current pandemic-related shutdowns…that’s all fine, but it does nothing to explain why goods that are sitting at US ports are not moving. Have all of the U.S. truck drivers died of COVID or something? Inquiring minds want to know!

84 thoughts on “Why are goods stacking up at U.S. ports?

  1. Workers along the supply chain are quitting because more and more workers are generally pretty fed up with how exploitative and abusive their employers are (it’s happening in other sectors too; 3% of American workers just up and quit in August). Goods are sitting at ports and shelves are laying bare because companies are not paying workers enough to afford to live. The added stress of the pandemic has revealed to many workers just how unbearable most work environments are for the current poverty-level wages offered by these companies.

    • I’ve seen news articles about workers quitting in large numbers, but I haven’t heard that those workers are specifically concentrated in the shipping industry. Is that in fact the case?

      • Where I’m at, a lot of truck drivers took reduced pay to get a job driving for Amazon because the government didn’t shut them down. As a result there is a shortage of other drivers.

        It doesn’t make sense for a lot of people to take a job that may get randomly shut down.

        • But what percent of the trucking market it Amazon?

          Hard to imagine any one employer making such a huge distortion on the trucking market.

          • That is what I was told by small business owners in my area when discussing why deliveries were less frequent.

            It has had quite the noticeable effect on them.

          • “But what percent of the trucking market it Amazon?”

            When it comes to consumer goods, my observation is that it’s now a large one. I do a long (~12hr) family road trip 2X/yr down I-95. A few years ago, my kids started playing a game of spotting Amazon trucks. They no longer play because there are so many the game is not fun any more. Now, they shout “Amazon truck” to be funny when things get too quiet.

    • Isn’t there a contradiction here?

      If you are at the point where you just about “can’t afford to live” you will probably take up any job? Having seen a lot of poverty, quitting jobs is hardly the recourse of someone struggling to live.

      On the other hand if I am on a low pay job and won a lottery, or an old aunt died leaving me an inheritance then I would probably quit.

      I think this more describes the current situation.

      • Approximately nobody in the United States is ever at the point of “literally can’t afford to live”, particularly once you exclude people too dysfunctional to hold the sort of job that requires professional certification. And we aren’t going to be pulling people off of skid row and putting them to work as truck drivers.

        Lots of people are at the point of “crap, I can’t pay my rent, I’ll have to live in my parents’ basement” or wherever. But we’ve spent the past year and a half basically forcing all those people to live in their parents’ basement, and a lot of them have gotten used to it and found that it isn’t as bad as they thought it would be. Particularly since, with so many people doing it, the social stigma is greatly diminished.

      • I’m not sure what you see as a contradiction here. If you couldn’t afford to live on what someone is offering to pay you for the amount and kind of labor they expect to extract from you, why would you take that job at all, thereby taking away time to look for a better paying job? It seems that if the majority of available jobs are paying starvation wages, it would be stupid to reinforce employers offering starvation wages by accepting a job they offer.

        Kind of strange that you think people winning various lotteries is more likely than people getting fed up with being treated like crap by their employers, during a pandemic. What evidence do you have to support that supposition?

        • Of course the fed “printing money” then giving it to the rich and well connected has lead to inflation and increased wealth inequality.

          However, that isn’t what I see happening here. Instead people are taking *lower paid* but more reliable jobs, or going into debt to go back to school or get some certification.

          The primary motivator is not wanting a job the government might shut down at any moment.

    • Are trucking companies paying less now than they did before the pandemic? How much less? How many fewer truckers are there than there were before? If this is indeed the main part of the answer — there are fewer truckers working — then I wish the news articles would say so! Instead, I see a lot of news stories that give data about the pileup of goods at ports, but none that give data related to the causes.

      Ah…OK, maybe not ‘none’, I just found https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/interactive/2021/supply-chain-issues/ which is closer to what I’m looking for. This is eye-opening: “Before the pandemic, Ramirez, 44, could make seven round trips in an 11-hour workday. That number fell to just one or two, forcing him to switch to the less crowded overnight shift. Still, his earnings are down 20 percent.” According to that article, that huge drop in trips per day is due to congestion at the rail yard: ” it can take him five hours to enter a Chicago-area rail yard, locate a customer’s shipping container and mount it on a truck chassis before hauling it to its destination.” This makes it sound a bit like traffic gridlock: the reason the congestion is so bad is that the congestion is so bad.

      But this specific anecdote doesn’t jibe with the labor shortage example. This particular guy is burned out and getting paid a lot less, but he’s still working.

      • I think the other reason not mentioned is that through large parts of the Covid period a 2nd source of income opened up for many employees.

        That decreased the relative necessity of primary jobs and especially so for the hard jobs.

    • So the UK trucking problem is entirely different.

      UKs trucking woes are brexit related. Large fraction of truckers were East European. Brexit meant they no longer had open access to UK labor markets.

      Suddenly we had large fleets whose drivers are now in Romania or Poland etc.

      So I think the UK problem is a regional quirk. Case in point Germany and Netherlands etc. are doing much better on the trucking situation.

    • Yes, trucking has been an isolating, grueling job for a long time. Has that gotten worse in the past year, and, if so, why?

      I’m not so interested in the same generalities about work that I see in the news articles, I see those in the news articles! I’m trying to understand why this year is different from last year.

  2. Phil, there was a truck driver shortage before the pandemic, and it is materially worse now, especially in light of the increased demand.

    Seriously, about 30 seconds of searching on Google would yield articles on the US, Canada, the UK and the EU, all of whom are suffering from driver shortages, creating bottle necks in the supply chain.

    • OK, I did my 30 seconds of googling, and then another 30 seconds too. One thing I found is that before the pandemic the US trucking industry had about 1.52 million workers, and now it has about 1.50 million. If the industry was just barely managing to move the cargo previously, then OK, even a 1.3% decrease in capacity could lead to an ever-increasing backlog. But it seems like if this were the whole story or even most of the story, the articles about the ports would say so.

      Overall this seems like part of the problem but I don’t think this is the whole problem or even most of the problem.

      (Even if a trucking shortage _were_ the whole story, it would just push my bafflement down one level: why is there a trucking shortage? If there’s a shortage of truck drivers, shouldn’t freight companies be willing to pay more, thus bringing more drivers into the industry? But that’s sort of a separate question. If a driver shortage is the major factor in the clogged ports, that answers my question).

      • Back in my day, one guy could deliver everything everyone wanted in one night.

        Now 1.5 million people can’t manage to do it.

        • Two possible causes;

          1. Because your one guy is among the 0.02 million.

          2. Santa only does his one night trick once a year

  3. Hi Phil, one thing I’ve read about is that the seafaring industry is itself gridlocked because many places are not allowing seafarers to come ashore due to COVID quarantine requirements etc. Some of them have been aboard ship continuously since March 2020… So ships show up, and then they’re forced to sit for a couple weeks while people make sure somehow they won’t bring disease… The ship crews are bailing out, because they’ve been away from their families for way too long… I’ve heard of instances where individual sailors have had to have say 5 to 10 different doses of different COVID vaccines (because legal requirements vary at different ports, different vaxxes are approved in different places etc). So it doesn’t even need to be a gridlock in the land transport. Unfortunately I can’t find the article I was reading a few days back, but you can try googling around “seafarers” and “COVID” and “regulation” and such.

    • From the PDF:

      The crisis is drastically impacting the supply chain via: lack of access to empty containers; labor shortages at ports caused by surges in COVID cases; carriers charging shippers 4-5 times contract rates and then still “rolling” them off ships; lack of available chassis to move containers; restrictions on truckers on when they can access containers at ports; limits on truckers’ ability to bring in empty containers and take out full containers (so called “dual transactions”); lack of capacity at ports to handle ever larger ships; lack of air cargo capacity; unreasonable and arbitrary fees on shippers at all points in the shipping process; and more.

      https://www.aafaglobal.org/AAFA/AAFA_News/2021_Letters_and_Comments/AAFA_Urges_President_Biden_to_Address_the_Shipping_Crisis.aspx

      • Four of those seem to be relevant to the question of why goods are stacking up at ports: (1) labor shortages at ports caused by surges in COVID cases, (2) lack of available chassis to move containers, (3) restrictions on truckers on when they can access containers at ports, and (4) limits on truckers’ ability to bring in empty containers and take out full containers.

        I could be wrong but I don’t think 1 is an issue these days, although it could have been part of establishing a backlog many months ago and perhaps the backlog, once established, creates its own problems. For example, if containers have to be stacked in higher-than-usual stacks due to space constraints, then when a truck arrives to haul a container away it will take longer (on average) to unstack and load that container. This sort of inefficiency was mentioned in a Washington Post article that I linked in another comment.

        Item 2 seems a bit odd to me. Unless people have been destroying truck chassis, there should be as many now as there were before and thus no diminution in capacity.

        Item 3…well, I just saw that the Port of Los Angeles is about to go to 24-hour operations, as Long Beach was already doing…but from the news articles I’ve seen, it’s not that LA had previously decreased its hours and was now going back to normal, it seems like it had always previously operated for only part of the day. But that’s just one example. Still, if in fact the ports had reduced their operating times, and that’s part of why goods are not moving, I wish the reporters would tell us that!

        Item 4, also…is this new? Truckers used to be able to drop off an empty container and pick up a new one, but now they can’t? If that’s the case, again I wish we would see that in the news reports. If this is happening then I would guess it’s another example of congestion begetting congestion: once the storage areas are all full, to the extent that ships waiting offshore can’t unload, maybe the ports are using all of their available space for incoming cargo and don’t want to make space available for empty containers. It seems like this should be a solvable problem, if this is what’s happening; e.g. give priority to incoming ships that are willing to haul away more containers than they deliver. Or just buy or rent a giant field within a two-hour drive where drivers can drop off their empty containers. Maybe it isn’t this simple, but if not, can’t they tell us why?

        In short, it seems possible to me that some or all of those four factors are important, but it’s not at all obvious which ones, or whether those are the major factors, or what are the magnitudes of each.

        • Item 2 seems a bit odd to me. Unless people have been destroying truck chassis, there should be as many now as there were before and thus no diminution in capacity.

          Shortage of parts to repair the trucks.

        • It could be essentially a “rubbernecking” effect. When there is a car accident or other disruption on a major roadway the response time delay can lead to slowdowns and traffic jams of many kilometers that persist even long after the roadblock has been cleared. Returning to a big city at the end of a weekend this can even occur when there is no roadblock at all, simply a slowdown due to tight curves.

          In something as complicated as the international supply chain there are surely similar effects, and it could be that, to the extent that it is true (citing news articles is not convincing in this regard) that there is a slowdown now, that it is a latency effect related with things like the covid shutdown.

    • Given all of those problems it would make sense to me if goods were not making the trip across the ocean, but the problem is the opposite: goods are arriving at U.S. ports faster than they are being moved out!

      • Phil:
        I’ve heard owing to the disruptions of 2020 just-in-time manufacturing supply chains are out of favour. Instead of ordering half a container of X, companies are now ordering 4 containers of X and warehousing it. This supports the supply-side hypothesis.

  4. A good starting place. 5 key reasons ports are backed up and what is being done.

    https://www.weberlogistics.com/blog/california-logistics-blog/california-port-congestion-woes-continue

    Current Port of LA stats. At Anchor shows only 25 slots. About 50 vessels drifting waiting for anchorages. This link downloads a PDF.

    http://volumes.portoptimizer.com/

    Port of LA Boss interview w/ written highlights. Free, but must register.

    https://www.freightwaves.com/news/oceanwaves-los-angeles-port-boss-lays-out-congestion-fighting-plan

  5. I share Phil’s puzzlement on this one. The news coverage of this topic has been particularly vapid (consistently failing my standard test, “could a third grader identify pivotal issues and/or logical gaps that the writer hasn’t even acknowledged?”).

    One thing that might be new in trucking is that we’re several years into a steady drum-beat about how autonomous driving is about to disrupt the trucking business. This has obviously been over-hyped in the past, but that doesn’t mean it will never happen. Because of this, I wouldn’t fault a young person for deciding that the long-term job prospects are too risky to justify the up-front investment in training. This is pure speculation, and I have no data, but it seems like a factor that could differentiate the current labor market from past ones.

    On another note, I’m a little puzzled at the comments recommending that Phil (or anyone) go off and listen to a podcast. If the podcast answers Phi’s question, could you please share the highlights in your post? If it uncovers informative data sets, could you please post a link to those sources in your next comment (and tell us what’s in the link)? My default assumption for anything coming from an unfamiliar source on the internet is that it’s a waste of time (nothing personal)!

    • The costs of training to be a commercial driver are not particularly high. I just got a brochure in the mail today for continuing
      education at the local community college. Total cost appears to be about $4300—and lower for veterans. Time demand is significant I calculate that it takes 32 days—-each day 10.5 hours. That’s several months of Saturdays and Sundays.

      Zip Recruiter shows the mean wage for a long-haul truck driver to be $64K/year and the 90th percentile to be 87K/year. Zip Recruiter also shows box truck owners with a national average wage of $110K and owner/operators of tractors that pull semi-trailers at $150K/year. It’s not clear to me if these latter numbers include or exclude fuel, repairs, capital costs, insurance, etc. for the vehicle and owner.

      It has always been my understanding the being a truck driver was one of the better-paying blue-collar jobs.

      Bob76

  6. The question is answerable with satellite data. I don’t know if it’s available for free, but I do know that, for instance, hedge funds use the number of container ships that are in line to either empty their ships or load them, along with the number of trucks waiting, to develop algorithms on supply and demand. You can, more specifically, read the ID of the ship, from satellite data. This will tell you the number of toys that are being shipped from China to the US. If the number is greater than usual, or is significantly less, than you can use this predict sales in the toy industry.

    • I had to laugh — even less useful than the “go listen to a 45 minute podcast that may or may not have relevant information” advice that Phil keeps getting is advice to “go download satellite image data and analyze it to infer traffic rates, and then connect this to supply/demand models.” (Yes, I know you’re not actually suggesting that *Phil* do this, but it still doesn’t provide Phil with anything useful.)

      • How do you now it’s not useful? You’re assuming that Phil knows this. I don’t. In any case, I think Phil can decide what’s useful or not. I’m only providing information that can be useful.

      • I don’t think it’s image data. Ships broadcast their name, location, and heading (well they are supposed to do so).

        See https://www.vesselfinder.com for an example of the kind of information available.

        For example there’s a freighter (container ship) headed south from Baltimore to Philadelphia right now at 11+ knots. (37,500 tons displacement, built in 1995 and named Hosanger). It’s going south to get out of the bay and around the Delmarva peninsula.

        Bob76

  7. On the supply of truck drivers, consider that my neighbor has a comfortable pension from being a union trucker for ~20 years. That kind of trucking job is now rare.

  8. Phil:

    IMO people are making more out of this than there is.

    The pandemic destroyed the entertainment and travel industries and left many people with ample cash to spend, so they bought stuff – houses, furniture, computers – instead of experiences. Demand for consumer goods and the equipment that transports those goods has skyrocketed at the same time port capacity constricted because of COVID. ON top of that, the shipping industry is highly capital intensive for equipment. Equipment is too expensive to leave idle, so there’s not much spare capacity. Trucking companies, for example, prize driving teams that keep trucks moving 24/7, which maximizes the return on investment in the vehicle. And team drivers do make good money.

    The trucking industry has long had a shortage of drivers, but a friend of mine who finances independent truckers told me their dollar volume is up 50% over pre-pandemic so they’re clearly financing more freight, which probably means they have more drivers. Rates are as high as ever, so it’s surprising to think people would be quitting now.

    • Incidentally, I’ve been involved in the past with analyzing data from the railroads. All Class 1 railroads in the US and Canada report their tonnage and revenue miles at least monthly and as I recall they all have their data posted on their websites and in quarterly and annual reports. Here’s the UP data:

      https://www.up.com/investor/key-metrics/#

      Check out “AAR Reported Weekly Carloads”. The weekly data is interesting but one week can be misleading as many bulk products are seasonal.

  9. This also won’t really answer the question, but I liked this comment I found on the Marginal Revolution blog (yes, I can’t believe I’m typing these words…): https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2021/10/thinking-about-broken-supply-chains.html?commentID=160336125

    Phil’s first paragraph, by the way, is excellent — I am constantly disappointed at how the concepts of numbers, and of comparing some numbers to other numbers, are anathema to nearly all journalists.

    • Thanks Raghu. I don’t subscribe to Bloomberg so that link doesn’t help me, but I appreciate the gesture. You could summarize it, maybe?

      As for my complaint about the lack of data in the articles that I see (and podcasts too!), here’s a great example, a transcript of a podcast that mentions a whole bunch of factors affecting the supply chain but no data whatsoever to help make sense of the relative importance. https://www.npr.org/transcripts/1041103171

      • Hi Phil — the link is just to a comment (from “Dinwar”), which you should see by scrolling down — it’s not on Bloomberg. (The post refers to a Bloomberg article, which I haven’t read; it’s the comment I found illuminating.)

  10. To understand trucking capacity, you need to know how much of the trucks is “rolling storage” and can’t be unloaded because certain industries have production problems (chip shortage etc.). In Europe, an international company used to have 30% “rolling storage”, and now it’s 70%. That cuts into their ability to actuaööy move goods.

  11. I don’t know where the data would be to look at this, but the lockdowns crushed a lot of owner-operators and they got out of the business and sold their rigs. The rigs still exist but it would take a lot to get those drivers back in business. They don’t want to buy and get crushed and don’t want to work for a boss.

  12. I’m also puzzled. I run a US based company and we bring in our custom products from China.

    Before covid the difference between the landing date of the ship and the product being delivered was around 1-2 weeks (unless customs decided to do an inspection of that container), this was through the east coast. NY landing, delivery PA.

    Since covid, we also (unrelated) changed warehouse to OH. Landing Long Beach, CA. Time difference 6 weeks. Ships are seriously backed up at Long Beach. Last shipment, one month ago, we looked at changing back to NY (longer ocean journey but perhaps quicker clearance) but NY is also backed up. We are shipping to Long Beach.

    We pay about 60% more for shipping because all the shipping rates have gone up. That indicates more shipping is happening.

  13. They just did a podcast with the same guy yesterday getting an update so you may want to listen to this one, since it will be the most current.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-10-14/ryan-petersen-on-how-global-supply-chains-have-gotten-even-worse?srnd=oddlots-podcast

    I suspect there are articles written about these podcasts, but they are behind the Bloomberg paywall. There are also transcripts to the older podcasts, like mentioned above.

  14. I know they aren’t popular around here – but it seems like a graphical causal model might be helpful for a problem like this.

  15. Phil’s post is good. I wonder about some basic facts. For example, are we importing more than before by sea? In that case, with the same number of truckers and longshoremen, we’d have congestion and shortages. A commenter above suggested that Americans are buying more consumer goods (more than 2 years ago?).
    So how the amount to transport has changed is one fact. The second is how the amount of transport has changed. Someone said, I think, that the number of drivers fell 1.5%. Overtime would easily compensate for that.
    A third question is whether we have onerous covid regulations that are to blame. A commenter suggested that is the reason for the port congestion, which is plausible. If that’s the reason, it would explain why the press is vague about all this– they don’t want to make Biden look bad.

    • I have to wonder if the trend towards the online economy – accelerated by the pandemic, might be a factoe as well. The distribution of goods, and the related shipokng, seems more decentralized. Does that have some effect?

    • Joshua:

      Google it. There have been lots of newspaper articles on the topic, and they often mention the online economy. I don’t know the numbers, but the idea has certainly come up.

      • Andrew –

        What I don’t know is how the increased online commerce would translate into shipping problems. Does online commerce require more shipping in some way?

  16. Note that none of this requires fancy modelling, or, really, ANY modelling. What we need are descriptive statistics, first.

  17. Here’s the agency that tracks container shipments, they have a great dashboard but the data is only through 5/21

    https://www.bts.gov/ports

    Near all time highs in 3/21-5/21, despite COVID protocols (2016-2017 was stronger than 2019, but can’t directly compare to 2021).

    Just the same, as we saw in Phil and Andrew’s article about highway demand, a model of demand shouldn’t be expected to reproduce the actual traffic, since the actual traffic isn’t a measure of demand when the traffic is constrained by capacity. That’s basically the case here: the demand is much higher than the traffic, but there’s no direct measurement of demand. COVID protocols, port capacity constraints – possibly a shortage of longshoremen – are constraining traffic.

    I’ve read in several comments that truckers are quitting, but I haven’t seen any data to verify that. Trucking stocks are screaming upward (see ODFL, JBHT, SAIA), Cramer is pumping Uber Freight, my contacts in shipping say they’re making money hand over fist. All that requires drivers. There’s no indication in the market that truckers are suffering a mass exodus. Since rates are rising, demand is outstripping supply for sure. But mostly that’s a boom in demand, not a shortage of truckers.

    • “But mostly that’s a boom in demand, not a shortage of truckers.”

      What I mean is that yes there is a shortage of drivers but due to a boom in demand, not a mass exodus of drivers.

    • I’ve read in several comments that truckers are quitting

      Can this data tell us if they are quitting one trucking job and taking a different one (e.g. amazon)?

      • Very good question. I’m not even sure something like package delivery is considered ‘trucking’. Hauling to and from warehouses surely would be, but the industry data might only include truckers who have a certification to drive a big rig, or something like that. I don’t know.

        BTW don’t forget to send $100 to Andrew, if you haven’t already.

    • I found a document on the California Air Resources website (www2.arb.ca.gov) that states (Table 1) that
      Port of Los Angles TEUs in March, 2021 were up 47% over March 2019. (TEUs–are containers measured in twenty-foot equivalent units).

      This is certainly consistent with the underlying issue being demand, not the supply of trucks and drivers.

      Bob76
      The document has the title “Emissions Impact of Recent Congestion at California Ports” and is dated September 13, 2021.

      • okay, what about in this case?

        ZH cites https://theconservativetreehouse.com/blog/2021/10/14/the-california-version-of-the-green-new-deal-and-an-october-16-2020-epa-settlement-with-transportation-is-whats-creating-the-container-shipping-backlog-working-ca-ports-24-7-will-not-help-here/#more-218447 as well.

        “The trucking issue with California LA ports, ie the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB), is that all semi tractors have to be current with new California emissions standards. As a consequence, that mean trucks cannot be older than 3 years if they are to pick up or deliver containers at those ports. This issue wipes out approximately half of the fleet trucks used to move containers in/out of the port. Operating the port 24/7 will not cure the issue, because all it does is pile up more containers that sit idle as they await a limited number of trucks to pick them up. THIS is the central issue.”

        • A:

          “The woke mob of environmentalist jackboots,” huh? Good to know that old-school political sloganeering hasn’t gone away. Running-dog lickspittles and all that. I wonder if this is the same person who wrote that Cruella movie review we discussed the other day.

          But, sure, maybe they have a point, or maybe not; I don’t know. I’ll defer to the experts on this one, as I know next to nothing about supply chains.

        • “As a consequence, that mean trucks cannot be older than 3 years if they are to pick up or deliver containers at those ports.” This does not appear to be correct. Here https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/sites/default/files/truckstop/pdfs/truck_bus_booklet.pdf is a booklet to help truckers understand the rules. Heavy trucks of a given vintage are required to upgrade to a “new” engine, meaning an “engine model year” of 2010 or later.

          (1) 2010 is 11 years ago, not 3. So unless I’m missing something that quote is simply wrong.
          (2) Any truck built since 2010 already has a compliant engine. Ditto for any truck whose engine has been replaced with a post-2010 engine.
          (3) All trucks with very old engines (pre-2000) were required to have already made the switch by the beginning of 2020.
          (4) As indicated on page 7 of the brochure, “drayage” trucks — those that serve the ports — have looser requirements: for them, an engine of model year 2007 or older is allowed (through 2022, at which point it goes to 2010 engine model year). So 14-year-old trucks can be used for drayage.

          In short (too late!) the article seems to be based almost entirely on a lie.

          • good point, does anyone know what fraction of the truck fleet is older than 2010?

            also, assuming this problem can be alleviated by more trucks loading goods, incentivizing more trucks seems like a good tactic, no?

  18. This contribution is great! Not only because the topic and the question is important, but also because many answers demonstrate why asking such a question is often frustrating. You say that there are unsupported claims around, and you ask where the data is, and what you get as explanations are unsupported claims.

    Question: “Why are goods stacking up at U.S. ports?”
    Answer: “The reasons why truckers are qutting are low wages and bad working conditions”

    Question: “Why did I have a heart attack?”
    Answer: “The main reason for stress is loud noise”.

  19. I agree that a lot of “news” coverage is replete with opinion and diatribe (both left/center/right are guilty of this, btw). Every now and then, sifting through the verbiage, rational fodder for what might actually be happening seeps through.

    In this particular case, if it is true (I don’t know but think someone knowledgeable should investigate) that half the trucking fleet is obviated or uneconomical to transport containers to store shelves, wouldn’t this be something that could quickly get things moving again?

    I’m open to hear all arguments and triage.

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