Fines to Break Harbor Logjam

By: John Semmens

The shipping backlog at two Southern California ports is throwing a major wrench into the US economy. Ships can’t be unloaded because of California environmental regulations restricting the type of trucks that will be allowed to haul the freight containers and the insistence that unvaccinated truck drivers cannot be permitted to enter the area where the containers stored before being shipped out across America.

President Biden’s order that the ports remain open 24/7 has done nothing to unjam the blockage cause by the inapt previous regulatory restrictions. This has inspired a follow-up idiotic measure aimed at stimulating the transport of the containers: fines for ships staying more than nine days in the harbor. Most of the ships in the harbor have been there for many weeks.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg took a break from changing diapers to explain that “since the thing that enabled Obamacare to obliterate the preexisting health care system was the fine for not buying an Obamacare insurance plan, it stands to reason that a fine is what is needed to get these shippers off their duffs and start delivering the freight. Buy the new trucks that Gov. Newsom has prescribed. Get vaccinated. Or start paying $100 a day for each container on-board.”

An estimated 250,000 containers are currently waiting to be off-loaded in these California ports. The daily fine will run to to about $25 million—an amount that Buttigieg predicts “will force these shipping companies to either unload quickly or go elsewhere to deliver their cargo.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis has pointed out that “in Florida we have no self-defeating demand that every truck be a new truck nor that every driver be vaccinated. We may be further from Asian markets, but the extra travel distance is offset by our state’s sensible and sane shipping procedures.”

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