The “Green New Deal” turns out to be at the root of supply chain blockages in California


Sundance has done a deep dive into what’s causing the massive container traffic snarl-up at California’s ports and on its railways and roads.  It turns out to be two interrelated factors.

The trucking issue with California LA ports, ie the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB), is that all semi tractors have to be current with new California emissions standards.  As a consequence, that mean trucks cannot be older than 3 years if they are to pick up or deliver containers at those ports … In effect, what this 2020 determination and settlement created was an inability of half the nation’s truckers from picking up anything from the Port of LA or Port of Long Beach.  Virtually all private owner operator trucks and half of the fleet trucks that are used for moving containers across the nation were shut out.

In an effort to offset the problem, transportation companies started using compliant trucks (low emission) to take the products to the California state line, where they could be transferred to non-compliant trucks who cannot enter California.   However, the scale of the problem creates an immediate bottleneck that builds over time.  It doesn’t matter if the ports start working 24/7, they are only going to end up with even more containers waiting on a limited amount of available trucks … No amount of extra productivity in working the docks to off-load ships will solve the issue of trucks that cannot pick up the containers and distribute them toward manufacturing or warehouses.

. . .

Yes, years ago the private sector predicted this would happen, and they started taking actions to protect their supply chains.  What these massive corporations did to reduce their exposure to supply chain disruption was to immediately formulate plans to divert their goods to other ports … However, it costs more money to move and entire supply chain for trillions of tons of goods coming.  Hence, we saw prices climbing as a  result of increased transportation costs being factored in to the new logistics.  Did you hear about massive increases in container shipment prices?  Well, THAT’S WHY.  The entire supply chain from Asia to the United States was being modified from the closest port (California) to the ports where internal transportation would not be an issue.

Ships from China and SE Asia being diverted from California into the Gulf of Mexico or East coast have to go through the Panama Canal.  It takes twice as long and costs twice as much, if not more.  Hence, massive shipping price increases.

There’s more at the link.

Sundance includes this video showing how Amazon containers get here from the Far East.  Just look at the complexity of the chain, and think of the costs involved.  Talk about transport-fueled inflation!

So, there you have it.  Bureaucratic overregulation and progressive left-wing environmental pipe dreams are directly impacting your wallet and mine.  That doesn’t exactly give me a warm fuzzy…



  1. As I understand it, on top of Cali's stupid emissions rules, AB5 (the 'screw the gig economy' bill) also hit trucker owner-operators. Everyone saw the talk about Uber and Lyft taking it in the shorts, but nobody realized that it would also hit freight transporters too.

    In a sane world, California would lose its statehood for this and be relegated to territory status until it cleaned up its act.

  2. In all of this I am not seeing much of any discussion about high speed rail freight. The primary trans continental rail lines are all rated for 100mph or better so intermodal transfer directly from ships to flatcars destined for distribution points throughout the country should be able to address this whole supply chain problem.
    Since it is obviously not, Cali must be doing something to hamper if not outright prevent this from happening.
    Long distance freight rail is powered exclusively by diesel electric engines which are about as efficient and reliable as anything we have today.
    I'll be digging into what aspect of the glorious green nude heel is screwing with this aspect of our transportation infrastructure.

  3. Yeah, no.

    "The Ports" comprise a couple of square miles near the water.

    Restrictions concerning who can pick up or deliver there do not extend all the way to the nearest state line (hundreds of miles distant), and I can assure you most cogently that there is no shortage of trucks all over the Golden State older than three years, carrying cargo to all points of the compass, 24/7/365.

    If truckers were available, some not-too-bright individual could simply use the compliant trucks to pick up the cargo at the Ports, haul them about 5 miles, drop them off at any yard or lot dedicated to the purpose (the SoCal area only has about 500 of these), and have the trailers picked up by those imaginary hordes of other older trucks which can't play at the ports (which is to statewide as your little toenail is to your entire body).

    's not happening like that.

    Consequently, the "explanation" is someone talking out of their southern end with a megaphone, from much deeper inside a certain orifice.

    "Problems" identified by people who don't reason well are seldom accurate, nor helpful.

    Rethink, and try again please.
    This line is suitable mainly as rose fertilizer.

    If the shoe fits, wear it.

    Start from the concept that there are only a certain number of berths, and a certain number of longshoreman and crane operators at those berths, and they have a predictable and finite capacity in terms of containers per hour, and thus ships per day, expressable for one-, two-, or three-shift days with a tedious inevitablility.

    When that capacity is squeezed to nothing for 18 months, and then rapidly re-opened, a bottleneck has been created offshore that all of the trucks and truckers in the country couldn't solve, no matter how fun it is to palm that reality off on Sacramento's fantasy games about "green" trucking.

    Less gas, and more illuminating flame, please.

  4. All of which overlooks the simple expedient of trucking the containers to the nearest railhead, which has run all the way to the port since Collis Huntington, Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, Mark Hopkins, Phineas Banning, and their heirs and assigns conjoined the Port of Los Angeles with the Southern Pacific Railroad about 109 years ago, and made L.A.'s nationwide shipping pre-eminence an inevitability at that point.

    Apparently no one mentioned that unlike trucks, railroad locomotives aren't stopped at the state line waiting for cargoes any more than trucks are.

    The problem is that you can't starve a python for a year and a half, then decide to try to feed it an entire herd of elephants by force, and expect things to progress smoothly afterwards.

    Stories attributing the current problem, in any degree, to green nonsense, despite the stupidity of the same, make it almost like history and common sense had gone out of style.

  5. Keep in mind, the people pushing the Green Leap Backward are pretty much the same ones who've been pushing for modern sumptuary laws for many years now.
    The premise is that the peasants have too much stuff, so the stuff they buy must be made more expensive. For their own good, you understand. And to save the planet from certain doom.
    So anything that makes ordinary consumer goods scarce and expensive is considered a win. Environmental regulations, lockdowns, implausible workplace rules, refusal to maintain actual infrastructure: it's all for the best.

  6. @Dave – It's actually the AB 5 law, and the Ninth Circus Court affirmed it. So it effectively bans owner-operators in California. They become "employees" of the freight company they contract with.

    AB5 codified into state law a previous California Supreme Court decision setting forth an “ABC” test in determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. That test says a worker is an employee, unless it can be certified that:

    A the worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact;
    B the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
    C the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.
    The “B prong,” as it’s called is the sticking point for trucking. It’s hard to argue that delivering freight is “outside the usual course” of the motor carrier’s business.

    As a result of this, I have to wonder how many owner-operators are no longer working or delivering in California.

  7. HAHAHA. And it only gets better! Newsom just signed another green bill outlawing small gas engines. Good luck with all them forest fires and no chainsaws you California Dumb F***s! Welcome to Hell!

  8. Aesop's right. The port of Savannah is stuffed to the gills, too. And that's the third biggest container port in the US.

  9. I'm not too sure this is an accurate description of the problem.

    For example:

    "AB5 is still pending in front of SCOTUS under a case brought by the California Trucking Assoc, w/ a US Dist Court injunction from early 2020. It has had no impact on driver availability."

    Ross Kennedy seems to have a pretty good understanding of the logistical problems in the Post-Covid-peak world, and he's been predicting these jam-ups for some time now. @man_integrated is worth paying some attention to, his background is international logistics.

  10. Don't forget the powerful longshoreman union that require high pay and limit employees so that there is more overtime.
    LA/ Long Beach has been losing business to other ports for years, and this will only accelerate that loss.

  11. I did a search and found this-

    Trucks with 2010 or newer engines are fully compliant with both the Truck and Bus and Drayage regulations. The exchange of marine or rail cargo (e.g. containers) between compliant and noncompliant drayage trucks is not allowed anywhere in California.

    A Guide to California's Clean Air Regulations for Heavy-Duty Diesel … › pdfs › truck_bus_booklet

  12. Dave.

    You can't remove Statehood because you don't like its policies in a sane world or an insane world. Anyway if you don't you like your stuff from China being stuck in shipping limbo, buy US made stuff or better locally made stuff.

    Johnathan H.,

    In order to afford to buy a modest home in Long Beach you need around 200K a year or more.

    I really don't think even union guys are pulling $100 an hour even with overtime.

    According to job sites longshoreman make like $30 or so probably a bit more. That's apartment wages at best .They like most of America are grossly underpaid.

  13. Rob,

    1) That is undoubtedly the regulation.
    2) Which means that any truck made in the last 11 years is compliant (not, IIRC, the last 3, as the article incorrectly stated). That's probably 80+% of them, at a SWAG.
    3) "Exchange" is easily avoided. " There was no "exchange". That load was delivered. Then the deliveree decided he wanted to ship a new load somewhere else. Immediately. So off it went."
    4) This overlooks that another law also states that trucks only drive at 55MPH. Anyone else from CA want to chime in on how circumspectly that truck law is followed?
    5) All of this is moot if the only thing being done is taking containers to the freight railroad yard for shipment to all points of the compass, as the ports have done for nearly 50 years.

    But kudos for looking up the statute in the bowels of the state's ponderous cesspit of regs.

  14. @5stone,

    Check your sources again, and revise your estimate. You're miles off the mark.

    The entire ILWU current contract is public info inline:

    Base pay for anyone with 2 years experience is $46.23/hr
    (pp. 30-31), which is $92.5K/yr.
    Second shift is 1.33x that.
    Third shift (the one they're adding now) is 1.66x that.
    That last would be $153K/yr., which puts longshoremen in the same pay category as average doctors and commercial air transport pilots.

    That's for the unskilled flunkies.

    Skilled workers (lited in detail on pp. 33-34 of the current Basic Agreement), are making between $94.86/hr and $98.26/hr, at straight time, on the first shift.

    That's $189K-$196.5K/yr. for an 8-4 job.
    Guys on 2d shift would be pulling down $250K/yr.
    Guys on the 3rd shift would be pulling down over $300K/yr.
    With a GED and a forklift card.

    With the "three years' salary" rule for home ownership, a longshoreman is living down the coast in Huntington Beach, in a $600K-900K luxury condo with an ocean view, and driving a paid-for BMW convertible to work.
    Not in an apartment in LB or Wilmington with the hoodrats on welfare.

    Longshoremen are some of the highest paid union workers in the entire country.

  15. Aesop. Consider the estimate revised and corrected.

    Those are quite decent wages. I know engineers who make what the longshoremen do.

    I don't have a clue on why no one wouldn't want that decent job. I'm long in the tooth but hell I'd take that pay scale in a minute.

    I'm guessing its either to damned much soy or the no weed policy or something. Hell maybe the people looking at work never considered it. Who knows?

    Anyway thanks for the correction.

  16. "Hell maybe the people looking at work never considered it."
    Very likely; there are an awful lot of people out there for whom the slightest thought of taking on a "low-prestige" job wouldn't even begin to speculate about the merest possibility of crossing their minds. Though soy and weed must also be factors for some.
    And… what are the barriers to employment? How easy is it to join the union? Is there some artificial scarcity of labor involved, on top of the general scarcity currently afflicting just about everybody who's trying to hire?
    … Oog. Imagine trying to make the docks soy-friendly. Or woke-friendly. They'd be shut down completely. Have to fire all the Rough Men who know how to get the job done, and are physically capable of doing it, but are prone to using Unsuitable Language.

  17. Uh, no.

    One ship moving off, and another one moving to the dock, takes more than 0.2 seconds. You could shoot 5000 pictures of nothing happening when nothing's happening, one place, at one dock.
    That's like shooting a picture at the Indy 500 during the race to "prove" there are no cars on the track, because they're all on the back straight.

    Exactly as I pointed out, the port is running as fast as it can. But don't believe me; read a comment on my blog by Noveske's Rock, which lays it out to a "t".

    Sorry, Peter, but alongside that kind of clarity, Sundance's "explanation", to put it mildly, is entirely rose fertilizer. Whatever his day job is, he should stick to it.

  18. And as for getting into the Longshoremen's union?

    Word has been for 50 years that it's easier to get into the Mafia, or play for the Dodgers.

    None of that changes how many cranes there are to unload cargo. They could double the numbers of the ILWU brotherhood tomorrow, and there still wouldn't be any move dock space or overhead crane pickers available to shift containers on and off of ships in L.A./Long Beach.

    Much like the Indy 500 (again) simply hiring more drivers and mechanics doesn't make the race cars go faster. A 500 mile race run at +/-200MPH is going to take 2½ hours, no matter what you do. And it doesn't matter what color underwear the drivers wear, which is – roughly put – what Sundance has misidentified as the "root of the problem".

    Codswallop. Period. Full stop.

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