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Will round-the-clock work at Port of LA free up the supply chain?

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Shipping containers are stacked at the Port of Los Angeles, the nation's busiest container port, on Nov. 7, 2019 in San Pedro, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images

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The Biden administration announced this week that the Port of Los Angeles will operate around the clock in an attempt to alleviate supply chain bottlenecks. The White House is also working with companies like Walmart, UPS, and Target to expand their hours and help move cargo off docks more quickly. But given the broader challenge of finding workers, will a 24/7 schedule at the port really help? 

For goods and materials to move through ports, you need people on the ground to operate cranes, drive utility tractors, fix machines. Frank Ponce De Leon with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union said there are plenty of workers willing to help the Port of LA operate through the night. 

“You know, there’s availabilities there — to work more, and take advantage of it, and some of our members will do that,” he said.

But there are other jobs that need to be done along the supply chain. Hitendra Chaturvedi is a professor of supply chain management at Arizona State University. 

“What do you do about the shortage of truckers? What do you do about the shortage of workers in the warehouses?” he said.

Chaturvedi said speeding things up at the Port of LA is a great first move but, “the problem has to be fixed across the entire supply chain.”

And the Port of LA is just one stop along the way. 

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