Biden Administration Claims of California Port Improvement Not Reflected in Port Operations for November

Posted originally on the conservative tree house December 31, 2021 | Sundance | 140 Comments

You might remember on October 13, 2021, Joe Biden delivered widely carried remarks about specific actions his administration was taking to increase operations at the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB).

Here we take a closer look at the claims since the original announcement, and then highlight the actual results from the ports.  The port operations are actually doing worse today than they were in October. They are less efficient, less productive and have offloaded less freight in November than they did in October.  The factual results are exactly the opposite of the administration claims.

The October 13, 2021, White House fact sheet is HERE, “announcing a series of public and private commitments to move more goods faster, and strengthen the resiliency of our supply chains, by moving towards 24/7 operations at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.”  On November 17, 2021, the White House gave an update, “Recent Progress at Our Ports: Moving Cargo and Filling Shelves” and claiming the increased hours of operations were delivering on the White House expectations of increased productivity and offloading capacity.

Throughout these past 11 weeks, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg have been claiming their supply chain task force has been successful in generating exceptional results and removing the backlog at the ports, specifically the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.  However, if we look at the actual records from both ports, we find exactly the opposite:

Ports record their data in 20-foot equivalent units, or TEU’s.  The Port of Los Angeles data shows they handled 468,713 import containers in October, and 405,309 in November.  That’s a decrease of 63,404 import containers from the prior month. [DATA LINK]

The Port of Los Angeles is the largest port of the two.  The POLA also showed a decrease in Total TEU’s handled (import and export).  As you can see above, the total TEU’s handled in October was 902,643.  The total TEU’s handled in November was 811,459.

That’s a decrease of 91,184 total containers handled.  This is the exact opposite of what Biden, Harris and Buttigieg are claiming.

Next, we look at the Port of Long Beach (POLB).  [DATA HERE]

Again, we note the Total Loaded containers (carrying cargo) in October 2020, the month of the White House announcement, was 507, 214.   In the full month of November 2020, the total of loaded containers handled was 472,215.   That’s a decrease of 34,999 containers.


There is a disconnect between what the White House, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg are saying, and the actual results of what is taking place at the Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles.

Perhaps the administration did not expect anyone to check when they claimed on November 29th:

“The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach—which handle 40 percent of the country’s containerized imports—continue to show improvement in moving containers out of the docks and into warehouses.”  [White House link]

Despite what the White House Supply Chain Disruption Taskforce is claiming, the actual records from the ports do not concur.  Someone is clearly lying, and/or not expecting anyone to check.

There’s a strong possibility they did not expect anyone to notice, because part of their logistical scheme involved telling the ship operators to wait further offshore so that it would give the illusion of less congestion near port:

CALIFORNIA – […] “Starting Nov. 16, ships waiting to anchor at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will have to wait for a green light about 150 miles from the coast, the Pacific Merchant Shipping Assn., the Pacific Maritime Assn. and the Marine Exchange of Southern California said in a statement Thursday. That compares with 20 nautical miles (23 miles) now. North- and southbound vessels must remain more than 50 miles from the state’s coastline.” (read more)

Apparently, what the White House taskforce did was to move the line of awaiting cargo ships further offshore to make them less visible.  Then, it appears, the White House just started making up talking points about productivity at the ports increasing and capacities expanding; neither claim is based on facts that surface in the actual operations of the ports.

The outcomes speak for themselves.  Both the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach handled less cargo in the first full month of the “new expanded operations” than they did in the previous month when the expanded operations were announced.

In order to remind ourselves how big an issue this was for the White House, watch the Biden announcement from October 13, 2020, again.

It looks like the media need to start asking questions….

Oh wait, never mind.

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