In-Depth: Port of San Diego helps ease supply-chain backlog

2-4 extra ships coming in per month
Posted at 5:52 AM, Nov 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-08 14:36:47-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - As ships sit idle in the Pacific Ocean, waiting to unload in ports at Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Port of San Diego is having one of its busiest years ever.

According to the Port of San Diego, it is accepting anywhere from two to four extra cargo ships per month. It's their way to help alleviate some of the supply-chain issues across the country.

"We continue to evaluate vessel potential each week with an eye to assisting the supply chain issues in LA and Long Beach," a Port spokesperson said in an email.

They say the extra ships contain some container cargo, lithium batteries for solar and wind farms, juice concentrate for use in juice tetra-packs for children, and a variety of home improvement goods for nationally recognized firms.

Ports in LA, Long Beach, and San Diego are running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to move as much product as they can. It's the first time ever that all three have run non-stop.

"They're trying to be good neighbors," said SDSU Professor of Marketing Miro Copic.

"They're stretched to their max with commitments already."

The Port of San Diego says they are limited in how much help they can give because they have to honor their existing agreements with shipping companies.

"We are prioritizing our commitments to and agreements with our existing cargo businesses and customers, ensuring that any spot cargo we do take in does not interfere with or slow down their operations," the Port said in a statement.

Each year the Port brings in 3 billion bananas from Dole. The National City terminal accounts for 1 in every ten automobiles imported to the US.

The Port says they also are responsible for "project cargo such as giant wind turbine blades and towers, project steel, lumber, etc.; and breakbulk cargo like sugar, soda ash, and more."

Size is also an issue because the Port of San Diego isn't large enough to accommodate "mega" container vessels.

Meanwhile, the Port serves as a Military Commercial Strategic Port. That means they have to be ready to support military missions with 48-hours' notice.

Even with the Port's help, Copic says the supply-chain issues will continue in the US through the middle of next year.

"We're caught between ports that are down or ports that are limited because of hurricane activity along the Gulf Coast, and then our ports on the West Coast who are just overwhelmed with traffic," said Copic.