“California ports are vital to our local, state and national economies and the state is taking action to support the movement of goods in the face of global disruption,” Governor Newsom said in a statement on Wednesday. “My administration will continue to work with federal, state and industry partners on innovative solutions to address immediate challenges while bringing our distribution processes into the 21st century. ”
The executive order directs state agencies to find state, federal and private land for short-term container storage while identifying freight routes for trucks so that the state can temporarily exempt the weight limits on the road. road.
Effective immediately, the executive order comes after hundreds of freighters have been stranded off the coast of California in recent months – with 64 freighters anchored Wednesday in Los Angeles and Long Beach. In Los Angeles alone, 200,000 containers are stranded at sea.
These two ports move about 35% of all containers in the United States and about 40% of U.S. imports and 25% of exports, according to the governor’s office.
The decree tackles this in several ways. First, it directs the state to identify both state-owned and “non-state sites, including private, local and federal plots, that may be available to meet short-term storage needs. term in order to deal with the crisis in the supply chain and distribution. “
And second, the state will temporarily lift restrictions on the amount of freight trucks that can carry. It “will identify priority freight routes to be considered for temporary exemption from current gross vehicle weight limits,” the ordinance said.
For example, an 18-foot semi-trailer with five axles is currently capped at 34,000 pounds. This would be temporarily lifted – allowing trucks to carry more cargo.
Coping with the labor shortage
The executive decree also addresses education and training programs for port workers and other actors in the supply chain. The United States is short of 80,000 truck drivers, according to the American Trucking Association, and projects a shortage of 160,000 drivers by 2030 if no action is taken.
The ordinance directs the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency to use “existing resources to identify potential road training partnerships to increase education, technical education vocational, vocational training and workforce development opportunities for port workers and other supply chain workers ”.
While California has little control over the ships and routes they use in private ports, the federal government does. President Biden has asked the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach to switch to 24/7 operations. But there is little demand from importers to use nighttime hours due to the lack of trucks and drivers used to move cargo, according to the port of LA.
“While the challenges of moving goods and managing the supply chain fall largely within the purview of the federal government and industry, the state can take steps to reduce congestion at ports. Californians to ensure that people in California and across the country and the world can access goods and supplies, ”the order said.