Ginny provided an excellent link to a discussion about the port mess on the West Coast. I read the entire (long) thing and the comments and had a few things to add here.
I doubt that some guy (although he is a logistics company CEO) could rent a boat, put out a few tweets and change a municipal rule. It isn’t like the guy has millions upon millions of followers. I suppose it could have happened but sounds doubtful (8 hours is what it took). And while it is great that they can stack containers higher, that isn’t going to solve the overall problem.
As many others (including me) have pointed out the problem didn’t happen overnight and won’t be fixed overnight. The problem needs a team of people to come up with a game plan that is realistic, and a bunch of rules will need to be changed if the issue is going to be fixed. Mayor Pete is clearly underqualified and probably doesn’t care, as evidenced by his extended time off to play mom. While taking time off to take care of a child in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, taking off so long is, of course, ridiculous and a bad look. Full disclosure – when my wife bore my two children I think I took off one or two days for each.
I have said before that there needs to be a Port Team, or something on the federal level and they need to get with the state and local governments as well as the unions and fix the archaic rules that everyone is playing under, and come up with some out of the box solutions. I figure this would take the team around a month to come up with, and I would involve everyone, including the army logistics people, or anyone else I could think of to help.
This will not happen.
So, back to reality. In the world of industrial distribution, things are somewhat like they have been for the past year and a half. Anything imported is completely crazy and unpredictable as to when it will arrive. Everyone is more accepting of substitutes, as sometimes there is no choice – and many times the substitutes are much more expensive. But if the choice is “heat” or “no heat”, it makes things easier. Winter will have no mercy on facilities or homes that don’t have parts or units that work to keep them thawed. I get very little time off, but I have no choice right now as we need stuff and I have to do whatever it takes to get it.
There are some holes in the inventory but nothing too tragic, with the notable exception of imported finished goods such as ductless mini split systems, all of which are made “over there”. That industry is pretty much tanked. Domestically made products are doing much better, although the continuing labor shortages and problems with getting certain raw materials such as plastics and foam (we really didn’t need that Texas freeze on top of all of this) hurt lead times.
It is still pretty wild with some things, but overall, it isn’t the end of the world unless you are relying on imported stuff. LTL continues to be a major issue and I expect problems with food chain eventually. We need autonomous trucks and fast.