39 thoughts on “The Mess In LA And Long Beach Harbors”

  1. A three hour tour off the coast of California… heh.

    Good analysis, and without reading to far into it; I was already looking for open spaces nearby. Gee whiz, is it really that hard to find a laydown yard in the Victorville area? I pick that location because it wasn’t hard to park hundred’s of 737-Max’s there, and it is a UPS hub. If Boeing can figure this out, you would think California could. But there’s a whole desert in that area. If lack of space for empties is the issue, then it shouldn’t be.

    As for the suggestions, deregulation is certainly the best. Particularly the part of stacking only two high, when I know in Houston, they are stacked six high. Why transport to Dallas or anywhere else when you can triple capacity by getting rid of dumb regulations. Don’t tell me about lives saved when Alec Baldwin can shoot a person on a movie set. California could have prevented that death by regulating the movie industry, but we know what industries California won’t regulate.

    And California can fuck the right off in expecting to get every military and guard unit vehicle that can transport a container. That is simply a recipe for disaster. And you don’t need barges transporting empty containers. The nearest empty port that could offload empty containers for storage could also offload full containers. Just commandeer federal land in the Mojave to store them. Plenty of it near Palmdale or Edwards, both with railhead access. You won’t need truck chassis, but you will need cranes.

    1. Bah. Why store the containers here, if there’s a glut? Put them back on the returning cargo ships and dump them at Shenzhen or wherever, and let the Chinese deal with them–which they would have to do before they could load the ships back up again.

        1. Turn it into homes for the homeless. A sea box, properly outfitted, is basically the same as a mobile home. They’re used for human habitation all over the world.

    2. You may want to rethink the Baldwin analogy. That production was in New Mexico, probably in part because of less regulation. Then again, no amount of regulation can stop a fool from being foolish and stupid.

      (I would speculate that a person died because no one wanted to get fired for making the Producer/Star conform to the safety regulations. Those regs are for little people.)

    3. “A three hour tour off the coast of California… heh.”

      I was very disappointed that the article had no comments from either the Professor or Mary Ann. The Professor might have shed light on the possible effects of Wrong-Way Feldman, or the influence of the Kupakai headhunters, while Mary Ann would have had a worthwhile commentary just because she was absolutely smokin’ hot (and yes, I am that shallow).

      Better luck with a better cast next time.

  2. I have faith that Biden will fix the problem quite soon, since he’s probably the first president who used to be a truck driver. He was probably a cargo ship captain at some point, too.

  3. I didn’t see anything that looked like a solution in the article, just moving the problem inland, away from the people and systems that keep track of what’s supposed to go where. Unless there are systems in place to track where the containers are, they’ll just rot in place.

    What needs to happen is for the containers to get where they’re supposed to be, not some patch of desert.

    1. I think the problem is that folks in East LA don’t have a good way to access the ships waiting to unload. If we could somehow just get the shipping containers to a place where locals could get to them, all that cargo would be in pawn shops across the country inside of two weeks.

    2. Ideally but think of spreading out the containers like increasing the surface area. With good tracking and more surface are, there should be more flexibility in getting things moving about the country and getting container ships turned around faster.

      1. Scatter 40-50,000 containers over a few square miles and you might as well launch them into a black hole. It might clear the ports, it won’t actually get the stuff where its needed. And where is the equipment to handle the containers going to come from? Having to use cranes is very slow. In about 6 weeks, most of the contents will be worth salvage at best.

          1. Oops. They still belong to someone that will expect demurrage until they are returned. It’s just as hard to get an empty container out of the port as a full one. Generally, it’s the receiver that pays.

          2. Around here empty containers are used for storage going for a few grand each. There’s a market for that clutter.

            Or repurpose them as homeless housing and move them downtown.

          3. Containers as housing are one of these invincible bad ideas that the internet seems to make an inevitability because of the morbidness of the obsession. It’s an idea so horrible that it won’t get out of peoples heads, therefore it becomes inevitable, even though it’s horrible and stupid.

            Absent a lot of retrofitting with insulation and ventilation (and plumbing, and …) that will never be done (because being horrible to proles is the point), containers are ovens in warm weather and iceboxes in cold weather.

          4. Another issue is that empty, stranded containers aren’t available to haul what we do sell to China, mostly food, back. They then aren’t available to be refilled with goods coming here. The capacity to build new ones is only a fraction of what’s in circulation at any time.

          5. “Containers as housing are one of these invincible bad ideas that the internet seems to make an inevitability because of the morbidness of the obsession. ”

            The idea is that they are cheap and easy to set up. Insulation isn’t an issue, just an expense. The problem is that they aren’t very wide and they don’t have traditional doors and windows. This means cutting out sections of the walls but this ruins the structural integrity, so steel framing has to be welded up to keep it all strong. Then they often find a roof would be nice to shed snow, collect water, or span between several containers.

            It ends up being almost the same as doing stick built. The container is just a style element visible on the outside. They can end up being rather expensive with a “tiny house” costing more than an equivalent house built more traditionally.

            Most tiny houses are still expensive because they need the things a regular size house does, bathroom, laundry, kitchen, and AC. People cut costs by cutting comfort, so poop in a composting toilet, cook on a camp stove, or some similar compromise.

            There are a ton of cool container house videos on youtube but not many of the nice ones are money savers.

    3. *THIS*. They’re now caching containers on land instead of on boats. Without fixing their stupid and malice-inspired trucking regulations, the containers will just rot in Los Angeles.

  4. Goods shortages cause inflation, and inflation is needed in order to monetize the debt. It alsondoes so by effectively adding a massive tariff on incoming goods from china while tying up their merchant fleet. Not saying the govt caused this specific ports problem but they also may not be in a hurry to solve it.

  5. To paraphrase a scene from one of my favorite movies:

    You let an entire supply chain get stalled in port because of a couple of two stacking jackasses? What the hell is the matter with you? [Draws pistol from holster]

  6. “If your model did expect it, I’m very curious to know how that is possible, and how you explain the years 2020 and 2021.”

    Progressive Marxist inate desire to control others while also being both incompetent and lacking the knowledge to control simple things much less big complex things.

    Stacking containers higher than two was one suggestion and from what I read, some places already did. Also, read about yards that have been waiting months to get equipment to allow stacking containers higher. So, I’ll wait and see if the problem clears up before declaring it solved.

    The piece started off informative but then degenerated into stacking people on top of each other is the solution to all of our housing problems. People aren’t boxes. We aren’t frieght to be packed away. Just like trees in a forest, we need space to live healthy lives.

    Being crammed into stacks is what I view purgatory or even a hellish experience. I’m not sure why people are always suggesting to cage humanity.

    1. Point is many places you can’t build certain types of housing even if there’s a market for it. So remove regulations and let the market decide. I’d call that freedom not caging.

      1. Or oligarchy/fascism depending on who controls the “freedom”.

        The guy thinks putting people in boxes stacked to the sky solves housing but that is an oversimplification because the issues surrounding housing and how living conditions affect people are more complex.

        I bet the author would go pretty fast from it would be nice if we could do this to making it a requirement. I think this because there is a huge movement to end people living in single family housing and the people pushing it aren’t motivated by the desire to help people but to control them.

        Needless to say, I don’t subscribe to the lolbertarian view of solving housing or drug abuse.

        1. Your not wrong on the anti single family housing attitude of some “progressive ” city planners. But I think the root of the problem is both sides tend toward authoritarianism on this. So good solutions are caught between suburbanites convinced that building townhouses down the street from them means within five years they’re neighborhood will resemble Manhattan, and on the other hand the “city planners” who endorse dumb ideas like urban growth boundaries and mass transit for everything. I don’t like high density housing for my own personal living, but I understand some areas it’s the best option for some people. In reality, the market follows people’s preferences, so few areas would get Manhattan densities, assuming you’re not Portland and deliberately making it impossible to build further out. One thought I’ve had recently is I wonder if nearly unused office buildings could be converted to apartments? I suspect due to the work from home shift few companies will get all their people in the office full time, so why not use it to solve housing issues? I suspect the answer is mostly regulatory rather than practical.

          1. “But I think the root of the problem is both sides tend toward authoritarianism on this. ”

            I don’t think authoritarian is the right word and I’m sure there are some regulations that are detrimental. I’m on the front lines of this in the PNW and where I live, we have a lot of demand for housing but we also don’t have normal people living in RV’s and tent cities. So, my perspective is heavily shaded by what I see the housing activists call for.

            They want to ban natural gas in homes, limit where people can drill wells thus limiting where people can build, shrink roads to force people to take different routes or not drive at all, treat rivers as people meaning that all activities in a watershed need to be heavily regulated. And force every neighborhood to have high rise low income apartments, not because they want to provide housing but because they want to comingle people prone to crime with people who don’t need to lock their doors.

  7. Temporarily stacking containers higher than current aesthetic regulations allow is one example offered for overwhelming a bottleneck. There are other bottlenecks known, and unknown-unknown bottlenecks soon will be revealed once the early clogs have cleared.
    That said, California has some of the nation’s (and world’s) most restrictive processes for any operation. Pertinent to this problem are restrictions on the kinds of trucks that can be used. “Gliders” — new cabs built around old engines — are forbidden. Whether a good idea or political BS, it’s a rule that might be usefully relaxed during a shortage of transportation resources. Similar restrictions are California-extreme regarding who can drive what vehicles where and how long. Surely those of us sharing the road with big trucks don’t want all such rules obliterated but careful temporary relaxation of such rules should be considered. Detention or demurrage, mentioned, might be waived at inland sites to keep the glut of empty containers at port from growing worse.

    Really crazy? Suspend state and federal taxes for ninety days on diesel fuel sold in California, so that trucking can operate there more cheaply. See how much more trucking capacity comes out of the woodwork flooding that zone.

    Overwhelm the bottlenecks.

    1. One of the things I’ve seen mentioned in threads like the one linked, is the bottleneck for parts needed for repairs and then of course, for the raw materials for those parts suppliers. The one thing I’ve learned from watching gold mining on tv and farming on youtube is that maintenance of heavy equipment is very important and that pushing things leads to catastrophic failures. That is a harder thing to fix but there is likely something that could be done in the short term.

      Containers can’t get stacked higher without the right equipment and pushing the port system to the limits without the ability to perform maintenance and repairs could lead to more serious problems.

  8. Until the price signalling priblem is solved this just kicks the can. Great story and all but it’s not a solution to anything long term.

    1. Hmmm, I’m not sure this is a pricing issue but they want to fine everyone tens of thousands of dollars a day, so that should help.

    1. Solutions follow the money. When it becomes profitable to ship things on time and a loss leader when things don’t a free market will fix it. Sorry this trucker can’t see the forest for the trees. Say what you will about Bezos but Amazon did not get to where it is today by sitting on its ass. One thing is certain. The solution won’t come out of DC.

      1. The cartels have no trouble getting fentanyl into the US. Mexico has tremendous coastline. Hell it’s practically the entire friggin country. There’s a clue.

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