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The 2021 Global Port congestion

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

As the historic port congestion continues, so do its effects on the American transportation industry and economy. Load rates continue to drop, drivers continue to go without loads for days at a time unless they compromise on rates, and freight continues to sit unloaded at ports.

Some ports are even considering relaxing their rules on stacking containers just to get more ships unloaded. At one point a single west coast port had over 70 ships waiting to be unloaded.

So who is to blame for such a backup? As of right now, fingers are being pointed everywhere from the truck drivers to the port unions, but let's take a closer look at the accusations.

Driver Shortage?

Some are blaming a shortage of drivers for the port congestion. So far the evidence behind this claim is almost non-existent. There are currently drivers idle waiting at the ports to receive loads. According to a veteran truck driver of 25 years, Carlos Ramirez, there is no driver shortage. Ramirez says "There's a lot of us that are willing to work,". Ramirez was interviewed by Dani Romero of Yahoo Finance. Romero reported that there seemed to be many empty trucks idling near the port entrance. When Romero spoke to port workers they pointed the finger in another direction.

Union to blame?

According to a port worker who only gave his first name, Alfred, the port union isn't hiring or training workers for skilled positions (such as piloting machinery). Alfred works for the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). The workers seem to believe the port is 'cutting work' in order to save money. PMA issued a statement in an attempt to reassure the public that they are entirely dedicated to filling skilled positions.


Is the fault is on a shortage of drivers as some people believe, or on the ports and their unions not doing their part to hire skilled laborers? Regardless of the cause of the issue, it's clear that no one is actually doing anything to resolve it. In the coming weeks and months, we will just have to wait and see how this global port congestion continues to unfold.

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