How We Broke The Supply Chain

Breadlines, the Big Book of Capitalism assured us, could not happen in a market economy. Supply would always rise to meet demand, as long as there’s money to be made. Only deviating from free-market fundamentalism—giving everyone health care, for example—could lead to shortages. Otherwise, capitalism has your every desire covered.

Yet we have breadlines in America today, or at least just off our coasts. They consist of dozens of ships with billions of dollars of cargo, idling outside the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the docks through which 40 percent of all U.S. seaborne imports flow. “Ships” barely conveys the scale of these giants, which are more like floating Empire State Buildings, stacked high with multicolored containers filled to the brim with toys and clothes and electronics, produced mostly in Asia.

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Longshore Workers Get Blamed For Delays, As Contract Fight Looms

If you ordered a teddy bear or a designer picture frame as a holiday gift, you know that it likely took a lot longer to get here than in past years.

There have been problems getting things from point A to point B since the pandemic started. At one point in October, 77 percent of the world’s ports were experiencing long delays.

More than most Americans, Longshore Union (ILWU) members grasp what supply chain problems are and how they come about. Many come from multigenerational families of port workers who understand both their militant union’s storied history and its role in the global economy today.

ILWU members handle the containers that go into and out of the United States through nine West Coast ports.

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Why America’s ‘Shipping Crisis’ Will Not End

I have a simple question for every ‘expert’ who thinks they understand the root causes of the shipping crisis:

Why is there only one crane for every 50–100 trucks at every port in America?

No ‘expert’ will answer this question.

I’m a Class A truck driver with experience in nearly every aspect of freight. My experience in the trucking industry of 20 years tells me that nothing is going to change in the shipping industry.

Let’s start with understanding some things about ports. Outside of dedicated port trucking companies, most trucking companies won’t touch shipping containers. There is a reason for that.

Think of going to the port as going to WalMart on Black Friday, but imagine only ONE cashier for thousands of customers.

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Why Do Walmart, Amazon, Target And IKEA Have Such High Emissions?

As a congestion crisis continues to stall polluting container ships in ports around the world, there is a growing awareness of the role that international shipping plays in both the climate crisis and the public-health impacts of air pollution.

Released on Cyber Monday, a new report from Ship It Zero coalition members Stand.earth and Pacific Environment details the relationship between four major retailers that ship goods to the U.S. — Walmart, Amazon, Target and IKEA — and the fossil-fueled carrier companies that make that shipping possible.

“Major retail companies and cargo carriers are flush with cash from pandemic-driven record breaking profits and are tightening their already close relationships,” Stand.earth shipping campaigns director Kendra Ulrich said in a statement emailed to EcoWatch.

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