U.S. Imports Are Causing Cargo Ship Jams


The United States is importing historic amounts of stuff from overseas, causing the U. S. Trade deficit to hit record highs. Gregory's all ski from our planet money podcast reports. The shipping industry is having trouble handling all of it. Humongous ships filled with cargo are creating a massive traffic jam on the water in the San Francisco Bay. It's gotten so bad that the U. S. Coast Guard has basically been telling ships. Guys don't go past the Golden Gate Bridge and entered the Bay. I mean, please, we don't have room for you. Robert Blum, Earth overseas vessel traffic for the Coast Guard in San Francisco. He says the ships have been waiting for days. Sometimes over a week just to come in and drop off their cargo. Last week, there were 16 massive ships waiting offshore. It's completely abnormal. We've never had a situation since I've been here where ships have had to wait offshore. We've never had this. Up in the Seattle Tacoma area. There are so many container ships coming in that the Coast Guard has been asking them to anchor 30 Miles north near would be island residents There have been complaining about the noise they make at night. Tom Bell. Rude, who manages the ports with the Northwest Seaport Alliance, says they're doing the best they can to end the traffic jam. There has been such a surge in cargo volumes that, uh, the terminals are having a difficult time. Processing all the cargo fast enough. We are importing so much right now, because with the pandemic, Americans stop spending as much on services, and they started spending more on tangible stuff. Stuff that largely comes from East Asia through West Coast ports. Meanwhile, the pandemic is slow down the ability for workers to handle all the shipping containers that hold this stuff. Containers have been piling up at dockyards and trains and trucks have been struggling to get them out fast enough to make room for incoming

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