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Adding to current supply chain woes in the US, along with outsize import volume and truck driver shortages, is another contributor to congestion at ports in South California: empty shipping containers.

Marine terminals and truck yards are filling up with containers due to be returned to factories overseas, particularly in Asia.

Truckers attempting to return empty containers are finding that terminals are all booked up.

As a result, empty containers are left in stacks piled increasingly high, or remain stuck on truck chassis, leading to a shortage of haulage equipment in the area.

Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro
Credit: Cameron Venti

According to The Wall Street Journal, around 11,000 empty containers are stacked at port terminals every day, 20% more this year so far than the whole of 2019.

To cope with the volume of empties, private land has been opened up for storage across the region, and ports have begun to levy a daily fee on loaded containers, which they temporarily postponed to give companies more time to collect.

However, the impact on US exporters continues as businesses find themselves unable to get their products shipped out.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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