Disruption Report #31: The Government Gets Involved, Port of L.A. Sets New Record for Backups and What the Restrictions on American Travel to Europe Really Mean

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Port Disruptions: Your Government at Work

You wouldn’t know it based upon the continuing and growing congestion at America’s ports of entry, but both the executive and legislative branches are trying to get involved.

On the legislative side, Congress had been debating the bi-partisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act. According to one of its authors, Representative Dusty Johnson, it will accomplish the following:

It makes it clear that there can be no unreasonable refusal to carry freight.

It improves the enforcement, it does things like, allowing the FMC to self initiate investigations.

It allows registration and shipping exchanges,

it puts into place anti-retaliation safeguards

It shifts the burden of proof to the carriers.

Does a lot to increase transparency with quarterly reports and annual reports to Congress.”

As you would expect about anything in Washington these days, it is controversial. In his article “Washington debates taking action against global carriers,” Splash writer Sam Chambers cautions that “the stage is set in Washington DC for a bitter fight between global carriers and politicians.” The ocean freight lobby claims that the bill “…is unfair and risks making goods in the US more expensive.”

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has appointed a “Port Envoy,” John Porcari, to the Supply Chain Disruption Task Force. Mr. Porcari is a former Secretary of Transportation.

Port of Los Angeles Sets New Record for Backups

Last February, the Port of Los Angeles set a record with 40 ships waiting off-shore. That record has been broken as 44 ships currently wait to be unloaded.

The Port of Los Angeles handles one-third of all U.S. imports. It is also the port through which most manufactured toys flow. Business Insider reports that:

The queue is a result of the labor shortage, COVID-19-related disruptions, and holiday-buying surges. Port of Los Angeles data indicated that the ships’ average wait time had increased to 7.6 days. 

The normal number of container ships at anchor is between zero and one,” Kip Louttit, the executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, told Insider in July.

This is the height of the toy industry’s shipping season. These kinds of backups are creating havoc for companies and ulcers for company leaders.

The European Union Restrictions on American Travelers: What they mean

If you are like me and travel internationally, you paid close attention when the E.U. announced restrictions on Americans traveling to Europe this week. I will be speaking in Nuremberg this coming February, I decided to investigate. Here is what I learned:

  1. The European Union has a list of countries whose citizens can travel to Europe with no covid restrictions. The U.S. was on the list but has been dropped due to the country’s recent rise in covid cases.
  2. The European Union decision is not binding on any of its twenty-seven member countries. Each country sets its own policy.
  3. The E.U. recommendation only applies to those who have not been vaccinated.
  4. There are no restrictions on Americans who have any of the three available vaccines: Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer.

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