New footage obtained by DailyMail.com shows the scale of the problem facing the United States’ supply chains, with more than a dozen cargo ships and oil tankers anchored outside New York’s harbor, waiting to unload their goods.
The huge ships are loaded with products that cannot be offloaded because of a shortage of port workers and truck drivers to transport them to their final destinations.
Concern has been mounting for several weeks about supply chains worldwide, and the U.S. is beginning to be hit, with the latest clip showing the ongoing bottlenecks of cargo building up outside America’s most populous city.
But Los Angeles on the United States’ west coast is facing an even more serious backlog.
Helicopter footage shot by DailyMail.com showed container ships and oil tankers in the Atlantic waiting to dock in New York and New Jersey
A flotilla of the ships were pictured in the Atlantic, as the US faces ongoing supply chain shortages
Americans are already beginning to experience shortages of common everyday products
Two oil tankers were filmed off the coast of New York Wednesday, with a shortage of port workers and truck drivers making it harder for them to offload their products
A container ship makes its way towards the Bayonne Terminal in New Jersey
Its port saw as many as 73 vessels waiting to unload earlier in September, and 66 container ships this week, according to Marine Exchange of Southern California data cited by The Wall Street Journal.
Aerial images for DailyMail.com, shot on Wednesday, show rows of giant cargo ships waiting to unload in the Atlantic.
Many shoppers across the United States and the rest of the world have noticed shortages of everyday products in recent weeks, with Costco recently limiting the amount of toilet paper and cleaning products its customers can buy amid the supply crunch.
This cargo ship was pictured off the coast of Long Island, laden with metal containers filled with goods
Around nine such ships are currently waiting to offload their goods – double the average number usually forced to wait
This Northern Magnitude ship traveled from Brazil to New York and is currently awaiting unloading
A tanker is seen unloading on Wednesday, with the Manhattan skyline in the distance
An empty cargo ship is seen off Long Island on Wednesday. The issues at the ports – with shortages of dock workers and truck drivers – is causing a ripple effect along the supply chain
A container ship is pictured waiting to unload its containers on Wednesday at Port Jersey terminal
Plastic products are also becoming scarce. Production of a wide range of electronic devices and cars has slowed down because of microchip shortages.
Consumer experts have warned Americans to begin doing their Christmas shopping now, to ensure goods arrive on time, and to ensure there’s time to try and find an alternative if a desired gift is one of the products that is currently scarce.
John Nardi, president of the New York Shipping Association, told The Journal of Commerce Online that extended hours were being discussed at the port to deal with the backlog.
Bethann Rooney, deputy port director of Port of New York and New Jersey, told the site that there were more than double the usual number of ships waiting to unload, with nine on September 27, compared to the average of four.
The delays are already sparking concern that, with only 85 days to go until Christmas, there could be shortages marring the festivities.
A coalition of unions that represent shipping workers around the world warned of an imminent ‘global transport systems collapse’.
In an open letter on Wednesday, the workers groups warned that fragmented and inconsistent pandemic restrictions around the world have thrown global shipping into chaos.
The letter was signed by the union bosses of IRU, the world road transport organization; IATA, the International Air Transport Association; ICS, the International Chamber of Shipping; and ITF, the International Transport Workers’ Federation.
‘We are witnessing unprecedented disruptions and global delays and shortages on essential goods including electronics, food, fuel and medical supplies,’ the shipping workers warned.
‘The impact of nearly two years’ worth of strain, placed particularly upon maritime and road transport workers, but also impacting air crews, is now being seen,’ the group said. ‘Their continued mistreatment is adding pressure on an already crumbling global supply chain.’
‘At the peak of the crew change crisis 400,000 seafarers were unable to leave their ships, with some seafarers working for as long as 18 months over their initial contracts,’ the letter said.
‘Flights have been restricted and aviation workers have faced the inconsistency of border, travel, restrictions, and vaccine restrictions/requirements,’ it added.
‘Additional and systemic stopping at road borders has meant truck drivers have been forced to wait, sometimes weeks, before being able to complete their journeys and return home,’ the workers said.
The groups called on governments to grant freedom of movement for transport workers and prioritize them for vaccinations.
Container ships are pictured off Los Angeles on Thursday, as an estimated 500,000 containers are reportedly still sitting on docked container ships and waiting to be dealt with
The reasons for the backlog are complex.
The pandemic has reduced the workforce, as workers are forced to quarantine due to the Delta variant or else are reluctant to return to work.
A shortage of truck drivers means that the cargo is left sitting longer on the docks, preventing the unloading of newly-arrived vessels.
The worker shortage is coupled with a surge in demand, as people worldwide emerge from 18 months of lockdowns and resume buying goods.
Demand for shipping has soared to levels cargo bosses did not expect to see until 2025.
And the delays with unloading cargo means that some vessels are having to sail back before their loads can be fully restocked, leading to further delays down the line when essential components are missing.
‘As long as cargo doesn’t move off terminals, it does impede the amount that can come off the ship,’ Rooney said.
‘Since terminals are at or near capacity, they can’t turn over the ship as quickly because there’s no room at the inn.’
And she said the problem was likely to worsen, because the increasing backlogs and resulting delays at other ports will mean ships arriving at New York and New Jersey will miss their ‘berthing windows’, according to JOC – resulting in the potential for more delays.