Perhaps nowhere is the supply-chain disruption plaguing America and the world more evident than at the two busiest container ports in the U.S.: Los Angeles and Long Beach. For weeks, dozens of container ships have been stuck idling off the coast of California, waiting to unload their goods. As of this week, there were 100 ships stuck in that position at the two ports, a record. Fifty-seven more ships were in berth at the ports.
Thanks to a complex and interlocking web of factors that touches every node of the supply chain — worker shortages, corporate misjudgments regarding the demand of their products during the pandemic, and more — the traffic jams at ports are unlikely to dissipate anytime soon. The supply-chain crisis has emerged not only as a headache for consumers, but a mess for the Biden administration, especially with the holiday season approaching. Last week, President Biden announced that the Port of Los Angeles would begin 24-hour operations to clear the enormous backlog, and the White House has touted progress on that front. But the traffic jam remains. Below, pictures from the scene that illustrate the challenges ahead.