LONG BEACH (CNS) – U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will visit the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach today to discuss progress being made to supply chain disruptions and the backlog of container vessels off the coast over recent months.
Buttigieg will begin the day with a 9:15 a.m. boat tour with elected officials and port representatives to each port, where he’ll get an update on port operation and the status of Department of Transportation investments, including the new Long Beach International Gateway Bridge and a $52 million grant given to the Port of Long Beach last month to fund a rail facility.
At 11:15 a.m., Buttigieg will have a news conference with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, as well as members of congress, port representatives, labor leaders and state officials. The news conference will focus on the progress made by the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force in alleviating congestion at the port, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Emerging Ports Agreement aimed at improving the movement of goods in California in the future.
Over recent months, the San Pedro Port Complex has experienced a backlog of ships waiting to get into the port, prompting President Joe Biden on Oct. 13 to announce the Port of Los Angeles would begin operating 24/7, a move that had already been made at the Port of Long Beach. At the time, there were about 70 ships waiting to get into one of the ports.
Representatives for the ports said Monday that there are 12 ships waiting at anchor within 40 miles of the San Pedro Port Complex and another 93 ships are waiting further off the coast or still approaching the ports.
The ports changed its queuing process, now allowing ships leaving Asia to get in line upon departure, which allows ships to no longer race to get to the ports and instead are anchoring outside the region’s air quality basin as they wait for their turn to enter the port complex.
The ports also announced fee on companies which have import containers linger at marine terminals, but the fee has been repeatedly delayed due to progress reducing the number of containers, with the ports announcing on Monday a 45% combined decline in aging cargo since the fee was announced on Oct. 25. The policy to implement fees was developed in coordination with the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Port of Long Beach and supply chain stakeholders.