The Port of Los Angeles will begin operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. President Joe Biden made the announcement as part of a push from the White House to clear supply chain disruptions threatening the holiday shopping season and slowing the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic.
Round-the-clock operations were already in effect at the Port of Long Beach. The two ports are responsible for about 40 percent of all imports into the United States.
The Port of Los Angeles will nearly double the number of hours that cargo is transferred from container ships offshore to delivery trucks as crews work through the night. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union members will fill the extra shifts.
Major shippers and retailers, including Walmart, FedEx, UPS, Samsung, The Home Depot and Target, have agreed to speed up operations to clear cargo out of the ports and free up more space on the docks.
The goal is to process and unload 3,500 extra containers during the night each week.
Cargo ships have been anchored offshore from the two ports for weeks. There were 58 container ships reported offshore as of Tuesday morning, down from a reported peak of 73 container ships offshore two weeks ago.
Biden introduced a Supply Chain Disruption Task Force in June to focus on transportation and logistic bottlenecks to the U.S. economic recovery.
The Long Beach and Los Angeles ports are on track to reach new highs in container traffic this year, according to the White House. Through August, Los Angeles has moved 30 percent more and Long Beach over 20 percent more containers for U.S. Exporters.
“This is big and overdue,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn wrote on her Twitter page in response to the announcement. “I’ve urged the port to operate 24/7 for years so we could move cargo off-peak. The sheer number of cargo ships waiting outside our ports can’t be good for our environment or our economy. This move will relieve the congestion and create jobs.”