WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Today's Why Guy question from Robert, who asks "with the backup of container ships off the coast, why aren't the Ports of West Sacramento and Stockton being used to help ease the backlog?"
Cargo ships continue to sit at sea waiting for a berth to unload their cargo. It's a global post-pandemic supply chain issue. Even when the ships dock, there's a shortage of workers to unload it, little warehouse space to store it, and a truckdriver shortage to move it.
Officials with the Port of West Sacramento say they can't help relieve the congestion of container ships off the coast of California because they're designed to handle limited commodities.
"We do not have facilities to handle containers, nor is the depth of water (30 feet) sufficient to accommodate container ships," a spokesperson for the port said. "We are a niche bulk port handling two primary cargos, importing cement and exporting rice."
So, that leaves us the Port of Stockton. Is that a viable option to pick up some of the massive slack that is the backlog of ships? Stockton has a deeper water channel, 35 feet compared to West Sacramento's 30 feet, so they say they are willing to take on smaller container vessels.
"We are seeing interest from the industry to take some containerized goods and move them via break bulk or super sacks through our port, so it is generating opportunities for us” Jeff Wingfield, Director of Environmental & Public Affairs with the Port of Stockton, said.
So, how long will this logjam at sea last? Many experts say... into next year.
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