LA port to open round the clock to tackle shipping queues

One of biggest US ports will start operating 24 hours a day to try to clear long queues of cargo ships stuck waiting outside.

It comes as officials scramble to ease global supply issues that may lead to goods shortages this Christmas.

The Port of Los Angeles in California will handle more goods at night after a similar move by nearby Long Beach port.

The ports – which handle 40% of all cargo containers entering the US – have faced months of problems.

Major US firms such as Walmart and FedEx have also committed to increasing their round-the-clock operations to help clear the jam, the White House said on Wednesday.

What is going on?

Global supply chains have been disrupted as economies have unlocked and consumer demand has roared back.

As retailers rushed to restock their inventories, the shipping system struggled to keep up. Covid shutdowns at major ports and factories in Asia have added to the problem.

It has led to shortages of children’s toys, timber, new clothes and pet food in the US and elsewhere, while also pushing up consumer prices.

The ports of LA and Long Beach – which are the main seaborne gateway to the US – have been hit hard. LA had to move 30% more shipping containers than usual in August, while Long Beach moved an extra 23%.

On one day in September, a record 73 ships were forced to queue outside for a berth. Before Covid, it was unusual for more than one to have to wait at a time.

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