Gov. Gavin Newsom was at the Port of Los Angeles Wednesday, detailing how the port backlogs are being addressed.
Newsom addressed multiple measures being taken that have resulted in a 32% decrease of sitting containers in the last two weeks.
“Major changes in consumer habits driven by a global pandemic have led to all-time record high volumes of containers moving through Los Angeles and Long Beach ports,” Newsom said. “Thanks to the collective work of California and our partners, we have seen a 32% drop in containers sitting on the docks. California has taken swift action across the board to address congestion and increase our capacity to move goods quickly.”
A new measure announced Wednesday came in the form of a temporary exemption of weight carried by trucks on the highways. Caltrans will carry out permits allowing trucks carrying cargo to exceed the usual limit of 80,000 pounds, now being allowed to transport up to 88,000 pounds. This will apply to trucks traveling from all California ports, from Los Angeles, to Long Beach and others.
“Many of the biggest challenges our ports are facing today have been years in the making,” said White House Port Envoy John Porcari, who was walking the ports with Newsom. “I am grateful for California’s partnership and dedicated focus to produce outcomes that will reduce congestion, improve operations and set us on a sustainable path for the future.”
On Nov. 10, Gov. Newsom signed an executive order increasing the amount of commercial driving tests that can be offered by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
The order states that commercial driving tests would increase from 12 to 15 locations, adding test locations in Fullerton, Montebello and Winnetka. On average, about 5,000 tests are given each month. With the increase in test accessibility, the DMV expects to add 4,700 tests, for nearly 10,000 a month.
The order would allow for more truck drivers to more easily take the tests and fast track them to transporting goods from the ports.
“There is a real need to increase the number of safe truck drivers in California to transport goods,” DMV Director Steve Gordon said in a statement. “Our goal is to give everyone who needs to take a test for a commercial driver’s license the opportunity to be tested within 30 days if they meet the requirements. Depending on the location, prospective commercial drivers can get an appointment for a test within a week.”
These measures are in addition to the White House’s executive order that has had Los Angeles and Long Beach ports operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week since Oct. 13.
Within that federal commitment, major retailers and supply chain management companies such as Walmart, UPS, FedEx, Samsung, Home Depot and Target agreed to move goods on off-hours as the holidays approach.
“Just UPS and FedEx alone, combined, shipped 40 percent of American packages by volume in 2020,” the White House noted in a press briefing. “By taking these steps, they’re saying to the rest of the supply chain, ‘You need to move, too. Let’s step it up.’”
The port of Los Angeles and port of Long Beach run 40% of the U.S. shipping containers, processing nearly three times as many containers as any other state.