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A record-breaking 44 container ships are stuck off the coast of California

By: Business Insider: Hannah Towey , Grace Kay , and Áine Cain   Aug 30, 2021 Freight ships sitting off the coast of California in January. US ports have experienced some of the worst bottlenecks in more than a decade throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images Forty-four container ships are stuck outside California ports, worsening shipping delays and costs. This tops the previous pandemic record, set in February, of 40 ships.  The ports account for about one-third of US imports, serving as a main source of trade with China. Forty-four freight ships are stuck awaiting entry into California's two largest ports, the highest number recorded since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Marine Exchange of Southern California reported on Saturday. The queue is a result of the labor shortage, COVID-19-related disruptions, and holiday-buying surges. Port of Los Angeles data indicated that the ships' average wait time had increased to 7.6 days. "The normal number of container…

‘We’re running flat out’: Why the wood pallet industry is on the edge

‘We’re running flat out’: Why the wood pallet industry is on the edge BY: IRENE GALEA                    THE GLOBE AND MAIL PUBLISHED June 12 2021 Manufacturers of wooden pallets are struggling to keep up with soaring demand and are being forced to charge their customers more as lumber prices have climbed to record levels during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pallets allow forklifts and other equipment to pick up and move large loads of goods, and companies that depend on the wooden platforms to get their products to market must now absorb high costs and accept lower profit margins. Unless lumber prices moderate, experts warn those growing costs will be passed along to consumers. The pallet industry sits at the intersection of a troubling Venn diagram: doubly affected by wood scarcity and unpredictable supply-chain needs. Many industry executives say that while their revenue has skyrocketed, they are struggling to remain profitable. “We’re running…