Supply chain issues which are hitting other ports are helping the Port of Baltimore, Bill Doyle, the Maryland Port Administration’s director, said in a statement last week.
While there were a few ships waiting off the coast of Annapolis, Doyle said that because of congestion at other ports, the Port of Baltimore, which has two terminals in the Dundalk area, has “recently attracted two new container services totaling 21 new ships.”
The current supply chain crisis, which is most famously affecting the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach where a record number of 100 ships were queueing on Tuesday, according to media reports there. The backlog there prompted President Joe Biden (D) to broker a deal last week to double operations at the Port of Los Angeles and keep it operating 24/7.
The supply chain issues facing the country “existed before the pandemic,” Kipp Snow, the director of CCBC’s Transportation, Distribution, and Maritime Logistics program, said last week. But since the advent of COVID-19, “the pandemic has exacerbated the problem,” he said.
“There are issues related to COVID, but they are not all due to people using COVID-related relief funding to not go back to work,” Snow said.
He cited COVID fatigue, childcare issues, school transportation and bus issues, earlier than expected retirements, increased e-commerce use and a long-term shortage of CDL drivers as issues leading to the supply chain crisis, and said short-term disruptions within the supply chain cause a “bullwhip effect” which causes problems to “trickle down” throughout the supply chain.
“There’s not one particular issue, and there’s not one particular solution that will solve the problem,” Snow said.
In the maritime section of the Port of Baltimore, recent slowdowns are “due to labor issues and wharf scheduling and the like,” Snow said, and there have been issues with hiring enough truckers to carry out products, causing delays in getting ships to unload. Shortages of auto processing workers have also caused delays in “roll-on/roll-off” auto shipments at the Dundalk Marine Terminal.
Snow’s department at CCBC offers classes and certifications across the career ladder in the supply chain industry, such as short-term courses to get CDL credentials, a certified logistics associate training, diesel repair work courses, and a work from home freight brokerage course.
Those interested in management in the industry can shoot for a seven-course certificate in Transportation, Distribution, and Maritime Logistics, Snow said, which can lead to an associates’ degree in the field, and is designed under guidance of the local industry.