NYC Area Ports Experience Backups Due to Global Supply Chain Crunch

Ruth Singleton
Published Date:
Oct 11, 2021

Ports in the New York City and northern New Jersey region are experiencing unusual delays in unloading goods due to a nationwide shortage of trucks and rail cars, Crain's New York Business reported. Other factors in the supply chain crunch include increased cargo volumes coming from Asia and a global decline of available shipping containers. Ships waiting to go to port in Elizabeth, N.J., have been backed up to Long Beach.
Approximately 80 percent of all goods arriving by shipping containers in New York City area ports are loaded onto trucks and head to market within a day's drive, according to Ira Breskin, senior lecturer at the State University of New York Maritime College. While the average period of time that a container ship sits idle at a port is three to four days, that period is now up to seven to 10 days. These delays affect the bottom lines of retail stores, which rely on strict timetables to meet supply quotas.
However, these delays are minor, compared to those at the Port of Los Angeles, where a record 73 container ships were anchored off the coast in September due to limited space in warehouse and the shortage of trucks and rail cars. Another reason for the bottleneck is a 26 percent increase in import volume over last year, due to higher demand for household goods and electronics.
Still, the local backlogs are concerning to some economists because Aug. 1 through Thanksgiving, the period leading up to the holidays, is peak shipping season. Most shipping companies attempt to export up to 60 percent of their goods in the last five months of the year. Burt Flickinger, managing director at Strategic Resource Group, a retail consultant, said, “One-fifth to one-fourth of all goods will miss Christmastime and Hanukkah, and it will possibly be worse in New York.”




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