Florida ports limited in helping backed-up supply chains

'We have the capacity to alleviate those backlogs,' governor says
Posted at 11:48 PM, Oct 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-25 23:54:50-04

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Sherry Ford said when she's out shopping, it's no longer business as usual as she's seeing more shortages.

"I went to Walmart a couple of days ago. There was a lot of stuff missing," she said Monday. "Even, like, vegetables were just low. You didn't see everything you wanted."

Ford said she's surprised by the ongoing backlog as companies strategize to meet customers' demands.

"I knew why it was occurring in 2020," she said. "I knew why it was occurring earlier this year. But I'm surprised that, in October heading into November 2021, that we're still seeing the shortages that we're seeing."

Ford's not alone.

"I guess I'm a little concerned," Tom Carroll said.

It's a concern that may not be resolved for some time. Experts predict shipping backups at major U.S. ports could linger well into 2022.

Forty percent of U.S. imports come through the California ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

The back-ups are now so severe that the ports are now open 24/7 looking to reduce the bottleneck.

It's an issue that also has the attention of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

"You see all those ships off the west and east coasts of the United States that are backlogged," he said. "We have the capacity to alleviate those backlogs. People can reroute ships to Florida."

But there could be limits to that help. WPTV checked with the Port of Palm Beach, which is limited on the size of the ships. In an email, a port official said, in part, that large container ships "wouldn't be able to get through the channel, so there is no way for those ships to divert to Port of Palm Beach."

Ford said she's staying positive.

"I have the means to shop at a couple of different stores," she said.

Experts predict shoppers could end up feeling the pinch this holiday season if fewer items lead to fewer store discounts.