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Newsom announces new efforts to remedy 'jaw-dropping' port backlog

One order allows truck weight to go beyond the current 80,000-pound limit in order to have a greater volume of goods moving from ports to distribution centers.

CALIFORNIA, USA — "Jaw-dropping" is how Governor Gavin Newsom described the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach while there Wednesday to give an update on the efforts to clear the backlog. 

Everyone who spoke at the news conference acknowledged there is more work to be done, both short-term and long-term, but Newsom said they are making significant progress. The ports have reduced the time empty containers sit there by a third.

The backup at the ports can now be seen as far south as San Diego.

“This is jaw-dropping without precedent," Newsom said. "You’ve never seen six containers stacked high.”

Newsom said there are many fingers to point “by the neglect over the course of the last many decades in terms of federal investment." He said that also included state and local investment into infrastructure.

Newsom said the $17 billion just dedicated to the ports in President Joe Biden's infrastructure bill will help in the long run, but that money is not earmarked. 

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It could go to Savannah, or it could go to Miami or any other port. 

But Newsom committed Wednesday to do a better job at bringing home the bacon. The state will demand more from the federal government.

In the short term, he announced a new order to allow trucks to go beyond their weight limit. 

“With temporary permits to relieve the weight restrictions, $80,000 pound weight restrictions for trucks, to 88 thousand," he said. 

There are also the sweeper ships, which he described as "ships that are coming out here for the sole purpose of getting empty containers out of these locations, back onto ships and back over to Asia." 

There's also deal-making going on to move ships further north. 

“To move some of this stress to Northern California ,we have commitments from two carriers to go into Oakland," Newsom said. "A third in January.”

Newsom previously announced longer hours at the DMV to help with the truck driver shortage as well. 

“Allowing us to double from 5,000 commercial tests a month to 9,700 a month," he said.  

The National Truck Driving School owner said his student count is up 10% right now because where there is demand, there is more money to be made. The Washington Post, however, reports that there is an 80,000 person shortage and predicts that number will double in the next decade. 

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