California Governor Eyes Expansion, Automation to Ease Port Congestion
(Bloomberg) -- California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an order that aims to ease supply-chain bottlenecks for the state’s ports, which are experiencing record backlogs.
The executive order signed Wednesday asks state agencies to find sites that can be used for short-term storage of container cargo. Newsom also urged them to identify “priority freight routes” that could get temporary exemptions from weight restrictions to whisk off more goods.
Trade disruptions from the pandemic, and then a surge in consumer demand for goods as the U.S. economy recovered, have led to snarls all along the supply chain.
At the epicenter of the crisis is the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in southern California, which handle more than a third of all U.S. imports. They’ve both announced plans to start running around-the-clock operations to alleviate congestion that’s led to a record number of cargo ships waiting to dock for days, and in some cases weeks. A shortage of workers, lack of warehouse space and transportation blockages are exacerbating the delays.
Newsom is asking California’s finance department to come up with spending proposals for the January budget to improve port infrastructure, better automate the movement of goods and help develop the workforce.
“California’s ports are critical to our local, state and national economies and the state is taking action to support goods movement in the face of global disruptions,” the governor said in a statement.
In Washington, the pressure is mounting on politicians to do something about bottlenecks and shortages. The White House has been working with port officials and big companies such as Union Pacific Corp., Walmart Inc., and FedEx Corp. to increase the throughput.
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