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Truckers, port workers trading blame for supply chain crunch

Yahoo Finance’s Dani Romero reports on truckers and port workers sentiment as supply chain frustration mounts.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: It has been more than a week since President Biden announced that seaports at the Los Angeles area would switch to 24/7 operations to speed up the supply chain. But we're seeing that kinks farther along that chain may be preventing progress. Yahoo Finance's Dani Romero spoke recently with some of those dockworkers. And she joins us now. So Dani, what are these truck drivers and longshoremen telling you about how things are going at those ports?

DANI ROMERO: You know, Alexis, we've heard left and right from executives, including executives at the port, talk about a trucker shortage, which is one of the causes to this logjam. However, I went down there, spoke with these truck drivers, and they painted another picture for me. Take a listen.

CARLOS RAMIREZ: They keep saying that there's a shortage of drivers, which is the biggest lie I ever heard. I mean, there's a lot of us sitting down, not making any money, not moving America anymore, because they don't want to work.

DANI ROMERO: Who you heard right there is Carlos Ramirez. He's a truck-- he's been a truck driver for over 25 years. I also shot some video. Just take a-- here's a peek of what I shot. Ramirez also said he hasn't seen any changes following the president's announcement moving to 24/7 operations.

He also said that he's had to wait over 4 hours to just get inside the port. And sometimes he won't even take a container out with him. Ramirez, who's a contract worker, gets paid by the load. So if he doesn't deliver a load, he's not getting paid. Now, on the flip side, I also spoke with a longshoreman who painted another picture about what's going on on his end. Take a listen.

- The problem is that Pacific Maritime, which is PMA, they're the ones who are cutting the work. They're the ones who are not training skilled positions. Skilled means crane operators, top handler drivers, trans drivers. Those are skilled jobs. They're not training people to get those positions. And they're the ones who are keeping the ships out there at sea anchored.

DANI ROMERO: Who you heard right there is Alfred. He made it very clear that there is enough manpower. But the real problem is that there's not enough space to offload the cargo and store it anywhere. I did reach out to PMA, and they sent me a statement that says the union is committed to robust worker training to keep West Coast marine terminals moving as efficiently as possible and that the ranks of longshoremen workers and trainees for specialized positions continues to grow.

KARINA MITCHELL: But Dani, as you rightly pointed out, so much of this issue is that there are these truck drivers. They want to work, and they're sitting there idling. They don't get paid unless the truck actually moves. So they're wasting hours and hours without getting a cent. What is the resolution to this?

DANI ROMERO: I think that's the biggest question we're all trying to figure out. Now, we did hear from the Biden administration that they were considering about deploying the National Guard to help alleviate some of these bottlenecks. However, over the weekend, the city of Long Beach announced that they would relax some of their current container stacking rules. That should allow ships to kind of unload more cargo off quickly.

Also, Governor Newsom announced an executive order that directs state agencies to look for state and federal and private land to store some of these containers as well. So it's still unclear how these measures will really solve the problem still.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: So what are these workers telling you in terms of what is the way out of this? I mean, and do they offer any kind of a timeline when they think that goods might start to flow more easily through those ports?

DANI ROMERO: They didn't really give me any timeline on both ends, to be honest with you. But one of the truck drivers I did speak with is for Biden considering about deploying the National Guard. But again, it seems like there's a lot of finger pointing at this point. But again, it's still unclear whether any of these measures that have been implemented or will be implemented will make any of these changes-- will actually--

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Yeah, great--

DANI ROMERO: --alleviate some of the pressures.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Right. Well, thanks a lot for that inside look and for talking with those workers. That was great reporting. Dani Romero, we appreciate it.