A “Casual” Observation
“I only know what I read in the newspapers”, was the expression used by humorist Will Rogers in his criticism of gullible Americans. Whether you liked the man or not, those old enough to remember him realize how correct he was in his jibes at public figures and at the man in the street. Then, as now, very few had the time or the inclination to look beyond the headlines … or the bylines … in order to determine the accuracy of what appears in the printed media. There are some who even doubt the authenticity of the Holy Bible, but under no circumstances would these folks ever discount the words appearing in newspaper and magazine reports. Strange as it seems, to these folks it’s the newspapers and not the Holy Bible that convey the “Gospel Truth”.
As an example, refer back to our Vol. II, Art. 20 commentary. Early this year the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco issued a Regional Economic Briefing for the West Coast. This briefing assured readers that the backlog of inbound ships has been resolved by the hiring of additional workers to handle the high volume of traffic. “Contacts” at the Los Angeles port had provided the Fed with this information, and that was that … you could take it to the bank. The Fed and “contacts at the Los Angeles port” have spoken. Look no further.
- The fact of the matter is that the backlog of inbound ships at the Southern California ports could never be resolved by simply keeping extra workers on standby at the hiring halls. What kind of a solution is that? Just after the long 4th of July weekend, about 200 of these additional workers were left sitting on their hands in the hiring hall. These are the “casuals” who’ve been enticed by the port authorities to be on hand at the hiring hall but whose hopes for a days pay have been dashed because of a complete lack of planning. How many times will those 200 casuals put up with this, do you suppose?
- The Fed and its contacts are covering up the fact that carriers have already determined that the ports in the Los Angeles basin are not set up to handle the volumes of eastward-bound traffic. The PMA released figures showing that container traffic had increased only 4% instead of the10% to18% range predicted, and that there was a surprising 28% increase in the Pacific Northwest ports. Carriers are having the good sense to reroute their vessels to alternate ports rather than waste $ 50,000 a day in a drift box waiting for a berth, and they’ve decided to “Run to daylight”, as we surmised in our November 1st, 2004 commentary. What other choice is there?
- Even now, when this “backlog of ships … has been resolved”, truckers are waiting in long lines at the gates for container pickups and deliveries. This is where congestion difficulties first surfaced, remember. Have the authorities given any thought to the problems still facing our truck drivers? Are they waiting for drivers to take the kind of action that the Vancouver drivers are taking? Are they waiting for more drivers to “Run to daylight”, as so many have already done?
All these problems will disappear when our patented systems are in place.