Following the holiday season and the explosive rise of Covid cases in the New York City metropolitan area, one of the nation’s largest container ports is seeing extensive delays forming.
The Port of New York and New Jersey is seeing Covid-related delays after the holidays. In various interviews over the past few days, port officials have noted that the port is seeing employee shortages, which in turn is slowing down port operations.
In an interview with Bloomberg News, Sam Ruda, the Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said: “We have seen a spike in the number of labor going out into quarantine.” At current transmission levels, that means a lot of port workers are out sick. The delays were already evident in December 2021, when Covid cases were just starting to rise in the area due to the new Omicron variant, which spreads much quicker than previous strains of the virus.
The Port Authority’s website as of Friday displayed on-time data from the week ending January 7th (last week.)
That data showed that the average wait time at the port is up to 4.53 days. That compares to 1.5 to 1.6 days prior to the current delays – a significant jump in waiting time and a sign of how the new Covid variant is having real-world effects on commerce and supply chains. Other sources have also reported that as many as 350 port workers are unavailable at the moment due to Covid.
The situation at the Port of New York and New Jersey is playing out all across the nation and the world, albeit on different levels. As we reported last week, the port complex in Ningbo, China, faces a potential Covid outbreak that threatens it with closure. Now, other areas in China are seeing an outbreak of Covid, a development that will not make normalcy any easier.
As of now, there is no timeline as to when the Port of New York and New Jersey will be back to its normal schedule (or as close as possible.) However, in a glimmer of hope, Covid cases in the New York City area appear to be plateauing and may be beginning to level off and drop. Only time will tell.