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Biden steps in as delays cripple supply chain

Biden unveils plan to ease supply chain crisis
Biden unveils plan to ease supply chain crisis 03:07

Nearly 60 cargo ships are stuck floating outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — a symptom of a broken supply chain.

Truckers at the Port of Los Angeles sometimes have to line up for hours just to pick up one container. But even then, there's nowhere to take them, because the warehouses are all full.    

That's a big problem for drivers like Manases Gonzalez, who gets paid by the truckload, not the hour. Gonzalez said he's waited 7-9 hours to pick up a load — and he doesn't get paid for any of that time. 

Clearing the backlog could take months. Estimates say it could take until the end of 2022 to get things back to normal, with ships entering a port, offloading, and departing with no delays. 

Supply Chains
Containers are stacked at the Port of Los Angeles in Los Angeles, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. Jae C. Hong / AP

At the end of the supply chain are store owners like Tony Jabuka, who has a bike shop down the street from a backed-up port. When CBS News spoke to Jabuka a month ago, he was waiting for a bike order he placed a year ago. 

"All those kids bikes that you're waiting for, where are they?" CBS News asked. 

"They're either on those ships, or maybe they're still in Asia," he responded. "But they're not in warehouses!" 

Major backlog at ports disrupts supply chain 02:05

On Wednesday, President Biden took several steps to address the backlog. Soon, workers will start unloading the quarter of a million shipping containers around the clock in Los Angeles and Long Beach, which handle a combined 40% of the country's container traffic. Dock workers told CBS News they're all in on the plan, and have been wanting to work this way for years. 

Top retail and delivery CEOs, who met with Mr. Biden on Wednesday, also promised to expand their warehouse hours to make sure those products have somewhere to go. 

"The commitments being made today are a sign of major progress of moving goods from manufacturers to a store or to your front door," Mr. Biden said. 

But despite the changes, there's still no guarantee products will arrive in time for the holidays. 

"We are not the Postal Service, or UPS or FedEx. We cannot guarantee. What we can do is use every lever at the federal government disposal to reduce delays," said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. 

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