Kickstart: Beefing up port operations not as simple as it may sound

When news broke that the federal government is getting involved to encourage the Port of Los Angeles to move to 24-hour operations, my immediate reaction was: You mean it hasn’t done that already? I know I wasn’t the only person to think that.A backlog in unloading shipping containers has stymied deliveries for months, while driver shortages for trucks has been a continuing headache nationwide.The question is why it takes federal intervention to (hopefully) get things moving at the port. The answer isn’t as simple as “add a third shift” or “hire more drivers,” of course.The neighboring Port of Long Beach added more hours at its dock in September to try and ease the shipping clog, but that involves one dock — not the entire complex — with extended overnight hours. And there are also complications with finding drivers willing to work at, say, 3 a.m. as well as issues in finding empty shipping containers to return to the port, required as part of the program. The Washington Post notes that the offered extended hours, no trucks took advantage.Top importers such as Walmart, UPS and Amazon have agreed to improve their timing in collecting items from the port to clear space for incoming containers. President Joe Biden’s administration also is pressuring states to ease the process for individuals to get proper licensing to drive big trucks, which could help with a shortage of drivers.”The situation we’re in, it’s a system, and every link has to align,” , deputy executive director at the Port of Long Beach, told the Los Angeles Times.So, yes. It is a very complicated process to get things moving smoothly again at ports. But this has been building for months. Why did it take the equivalent of warning to consumers that Christmas — or some Christmas shopping at any rate — would be canceled to finally, hopefully get things moving?Speaking of shortages, a lack of Plastic bottles has prompted a Wisconsin-based convenience store chain to stop offering some milk varieties.The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has told consumers that because of a lack of bottles, it would hold off on sales of less-popular items such as low-fat chocolate and strawberry milk in 8-ounce and 16-ounce containers.Kwik Trip has its own dairy processing plants, the Journal Sentinel reports, so when its packaging supplier had problems getting needed materials, it decided to temporarily curtail production of items that don’t have as much demand.”The good news is we should be back, full bore, on all flavors and sizes” by Oct. 21, Kwik Trip spokesman David Niemi told the paper. There is a lot of debate around plastics recycling.Plastics News’ sister paper Crain’s New York Business has a story that brings up another issue that has to be considered in the work to be more sustainable: The impact on expanding recycling to sorting facilities’ neighbors.Residents of Jamaica, Queens, are complaining about smells and increased traffic at American Recycling. Owners of the facility want to modernize equipment and make adjustments that will allow them to ship more materials by rail.Owner Chris Hein says that to finance improvements, American Recycling needs to expand capacity, but residents are fighting that attempt to change regulations on the amount of recyclables allowed on the site.”The battle in Jamaica speaks to an inconvenient truth: Getting to a greener economy involves difficult decisions. Installing solar panels or closing coal mines is easy, but determining how many trucks can visit a recycling station in a poor neighborhood is really hard,” CNYB .If American Recycling can’t take it, company officials said, those materials will just end up being dumped somewhere more convenient such as a landfill. Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you’d like to share with our readers? Plastics News would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor at Please enter a valid email address.Please enter your email address.Please verify captcha.Please select at least one newsletter to subscribe. Staying current is easy with Plastics News delivered straight to your inbox, free of charge. Subscribe to Plastics News Plastics News covers the business of the global plastics industry. We report news, gather data and deliver timely information that provides our readers with a competitive advantage.Customer Service:

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