LA Ports Impacted by COVID-Related Labor Shortage

February 2, 2021

In a previous blog, we spoke about the coronavirus vaccine. We stated that the list for distribution priority is as follows: Healthcare personnel; Workers in essential and critical industries; People at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions; People 65 years and older.

In a recent article published by KTLA, the question was asked… “Is it time for essential workers to be eligible for the covid vaccine?” The question is being asked due to a Port slowdown, with dockworkers not going to the job site due to infection, or being isolated after contact, or awaiting test results, or simply fear of exposure.

The article states, “According to the International Longshore Workers Union, 694 dockworkers have reported COVID-19 infections as of Jan. 17, a dozen have died and hundreds are taking virus-related leaves.”

A second news report in supplychaindigital.com went into even more detail with regard to the slowdown issues:

“Volume at the Port of Los Angeles is expected to be up an average of 88% YoY in the first two weeks of 2021 — a sign that swelling imports have yet to let up. However, the increase in import volumes has not been met with increased human resources, operating capacity or assets. Labor shortages due to the pandemic, chassis shortages in Southern California caused by increased “street dwell” times, and delayed vessel arrival contribute further to the ongoing congestion. In short, increased volume without increased capacity creates a bottleneck not easily resolved.” Read the full article HERE.

Speeding up the availability of the vaccine to essential workers might help to resolve some of the labor issues, but recent news reports reveal that we are still facing delays. According to a recent KTLA report, “On California’s current vaccine plan, health care workers and residents of long term care facilities are prioritized first, then those 65 and older, along with education and child care staff, emergency crews, and food and agriculture workers. Next up would be people working in transportation and logistics, critical manufacturing, industrial, commercial, residential and sheltering services, followed by the homeless and incarcerated.”

California’s Governor Newsome recently announced a pilot website, called MyTurn, that lets Californians sign up to get notified when they’re eligible for the vaccine. Click HERE for more information on the Governor’s plan.

AMS’ employees are essential workers, and they do face increased risk when coming to work. We have taken every step possible within the warehouse environment to protect our employees and our efforts have increased their confidence and safety.

AMS VP of Logistics, John Bevacqua, offered his viewpoint as follows: “It’s unfortunate that we seems to have delays in getting the COVID vaccine to our most vulnerable including the essential workers that are keeping what’s left of our economy up and running. We continue to see very high numbers of infections and many of those are the essential workers. Those working in the logistics, transportation and manufacturing sector should be coming up sometime this month provided the supply is adequate.

“The transportation industry is struggling as the ocean vessels are delayed getting into the ports. Costs have tripled for Ocean and over the road OTR transportation. Many freight forwarders are taking advantage of the situation by driving their rates above peak. I’m hoping to see some relief in the Port congestion, but probably not until end of first quarter. Meanwhile, while inventories holdings become lower and transportation costs continue to rise, we can expect shortages for certain products and consumers will begin to feel it with their wallets.”

AMS supports all efforts to protect the lives and health of essential workers, and we join with the Longshore Workers Union in urging the availability of vaccines for dockworkers.