Here’s an interesting piece, primarily a letter from a truck driver detailing some of the problems with Left Coast ports. Excerpt:
The seaports in California are the chief ones finding themselves crippled, and the supposed “driver shortages” (more on that later) are not a direct factor; California’s ridiculous restrictions on trucks are. As with so many other things in the Land of Fruits and Nuts, insanity has a big part in regulations there.
As an example, I am an owner-operator and just sold a 2005 model year truck that was not qualified to operate in California due to it not being current with their pollution equipment. Please understand, that did not mean that my truck polluted excessive amounts; it merely meant that it did not have the equipment the “experts” deemed necessary. This situation is not a rare one, as there are thousands of trucks across the nation that do quite well hauling goods in the 47 states plus Alaska in which they operate.
Ports traditionally have had well-developed Unions whose strength are legendary. The ones in California are unfriendly to the point of refusing non-union trucks to enter the port; thus rendering an extremely high percentage (perhaps as high as 90%) unavailable to haul containers. There is no union for Owner-operators, so they are excluded entirely. The enormous trucking companies such as JB Hunt, Schneider, and FedEx are non-union companies also.
Loading onto railcars and shipping the containers to the Arizona state line to change them onto trucks would be a viable solution, but the clear and most sensible one would be for California politicians to remove their heads from the sand and relax the regulations.
There’s a lot more to this letter, of course, including quite a bit of technical correction of this article. But the gist of it is plain; the problem with the major California ports, the problem that is causing a great deal of the supply chain issues we’re seeing right now, are due to idiots pulling the levers of governmental power in California. There’s just no other conclusion that can be drawn.
Our trucker ally concludes:
There are thousands upon thousands of drivers being required to stay away from home in excess of 250 days per year on an income of less than $50,000. Road expenses for eating ($20@day) and showering ($12 ea) alone on trips lasting 2 weeks or longer whack that amount down several thousand dollars yearly, and after taxes there is hardly enough to support a family of 4. It should be of little surprise to anyone that there is a dearth of drivers salivating to step into that scenario and apply their nose to the grindstone.
No one has heard the media report on a shortage of trucks, nor shall they; only that of drivers. Consider the extent of their propaganda and also the agenda it follows.
Earlier in the article the correspondent notes that additional company drivers and owner-operators, now all but prohibited from picking up shipments at California ports, are needed to fill these gaps. Also that there is apparently a pay disparity, although I have no way of verifying that I would take the word of a career owner-operator over that of an activist or politician.
But it seems like the immediate solution would be for California to pull their heads out of their asses, relax the regulations and let a legion of owner-operators move the damn cargo.