How ports are breaking supply chain gridlock that's causing shortages, high food prices

In Philadelphia, terminal operator Holt Logistics is tackling the issue by first extending hours of operation.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As thousands of containers filled with goods continue to pile up in record numbers, the operator of the Port of Philadelphia is making adjustments to break the bottleneck.

In Philadelphia, terminal operator Holt Logistics is tackling the issue by first extending hours of operation.

"Extending days from 7:30 p.m. to almost midnight, 11:30 p.m. at night. They've opened satellite yards, there's an additional 30 acres that was not being used," said Sean Mahoney of PhilaPort, the Port of Philadelphia, which manages and maintains the port facilities along the Delaware River.

The rest of the problem is getting those yards and yards of containers filled with goods to suppliers. The truck driver shortage is not helping. So that has Holt turning to railroads.

"They're also working with CSX and the rail, class 1 railroads, to move more containers," said Mahoney.

SEE ALSO: Supply chain issues: Why port backlog is causing surge in prices at the store?
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COVID outbreaks and worker shortages are also adding to the problem, which has led to a surge in price increases in everyday items including food.

Major ports like Los Angeles, Houston and Savannah, Georgia continue to be bottlenecked with many ships off the coast.

That has some major companies like Target and Walmart seeking alternatives even though they're more expensive. The companies have been chartering smaller ships.

For the month of September, the PhilaPort's Packer Terminal has handled over 68,000 containers, the second busiest month in the port's history.

But while port operators, businesses, labor and shipping companies work to tackle the massive disruption, there are empty shelves and rising prices with the holiday crunch fast approaching.

"Everything is sky-high right now," said Keisha Shepard of West Philadelphia.

"The prices are really, really crazy now, even for a box of diapers. I mean it's ridiculous," said Eneida Cancel of South Philadelphia.

SEE ALSO: Port of Los Angeles going 24/7 in effort to ease supply chain bottlenecks before holidays

"Luckily for the schools giving you money for when the kids were out of school ... if we didn't have that, then what?" said Darlene Scutts of Nicetown.

Many people are looking for relief from the high prices and supply chain shortages. Hopefully, the adjustments being made by the shipping industry and companies across the board will bring relief soon.

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