The omicron Covid variant has caused an explosion of Covid cases among longshoremen, slowing unloading and contributing to record congestion at California ports, according to the Pacific Maritime Association via The New York Times.  More West Coast longshoremen contracted Covid in January than in all of last year, 1850 in January vs. 1624 in all of 2021, the Association told the Times.  Around 80% of those infections were at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, key points of access to the U.S. from China and other Asian manufacturing hubs, accounting for 40% of all sea freight entering the country.

A record 90 container ships were waiting to unload at the two Los Angeles-area ports as of last Friday.

By early December, the worst of the pre-holiday congestion at the ports was clearing (see "’Significant Progress’ in Clearing SoCal Ports"), but in January the trend was reversed.  New cases have been dropping in recent weeks, so there is hope that staffing will get back to normal levels soon.