Financial TimesFinancial Times

The supply chain crisis and US ports: ‘Disruption on top of disruption’

By Christopher Grimes in Los Angeles and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson in New York

14 Oct 2021 · 10 min read

Since the pandemic started to wane, Americans have been on an extraordinary buying spree. One measure of this is the daily tally of container ships idling outside the congested ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — the entry point for about 40 per cent of goods imported into the US.

The queue of ships stacked high with brightly-coloured containers reached a record of 73 anchored container ships on September 19 and by last weekend still stretched as far as the eye could see — frustrating retailers and becoming a national symbol of an outdated and overwhelmed US supply chain.

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