• Truckers at two major US ports have collectively sat idling for 50 years in 2021, data suggests.
  • The average trucker has already spent more time idling than any of the previous three years, the data showed.
  • Big US ports are clogged with containers because of a breakdown in the global supply chain network.

Truckers at two backlogged US container ports have collectively sat idling for 50 years so far in 2021, data suggests.

The “idle time” racked up by these truckers, at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of New York and New Jersey, climbed markedly in 2021 compared with recent years, data from Lytx, a transport telematics firm, showed. The data was first reported by Bloomberg.

Idle time – the time in which engines are running but trucks aren’t moving – climbed by 50% per vehicle between the start of 2018 and October 2021, Lytx said.

So far in 2021, trucks at the two ports have racked up more than a day’s worth of idle time on average – which, collectively, amounts to 50 years’ worth, according to Lytx.

America’s busiest ports remain clogged up because of a breakdown in the supply chain network. After a fall in shipping demand during the early days of the pandemic in 2020, a surge at the end of that year has led to delays and blockages across the world.

Now, containers that are waiting to be collected and taken to their next destination are jamming up port docks and preventing arriving ships from docking and unloading new cargo.

The White House stepped in last month, moving both Southern California ports to a 24/7 schedule. But supply chain experts were skeptical about how effective this would be especially if truckers and warehouses are not following the same schedule.

“It’s great that they’ve chosen to do something, but we’re talking about a less than 1% to 2% change here,” Brian Whitlock, a supply chain analyst at Gartner, told Insider. “The work that they’re talking about here is going to be immaterial. It probably won’t even be visible.”