AmericasContainersPorts and Logistics

Number of ships waiting for berth space outside LA and Long Beach set to top 50

Ships are being forced to drift outside Los Angeles and Long Beach as all anchorages are chock-a-block with the total number of boxships waiting for berth spaces to open up at America’s top two gateways set to hit a new all-time high of 50 ships today.

As of last night, the Marine Exchange of Southern California registered a record 49 boxships waiting for berth space in and around San Pedro Bay. More than 15 ships are due to arrive by the end of the weekend.

Giving an update on operations last month, Gene Seroka, the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, said the challenge facing the entire supply chain amounts to “squeezing 10 lanes of freeway traffic into five lanes.”

The extraordinary congestion seen at America’s main two west coast ports is far worse than the port lockout days of 2002 and 2004.

When the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were locked out for 10 days and eight days in 2002 and 2004 respectively, ship queues never exceeded 30 vessels, and yet the the port lockdowns caused significant economic chaos.

“Record backups at the ports of LA/Long Beach are the major driver of delays that are effectively removing an estimated 20-25% of transpac capacity. Combined with still-surging demand for imports, these delays pushed Asia-US West Coast prices up 12% and past the $20k/FEU mark for the first time this week,” Judah Levine, head of research at online box platform Freightos stated in an update yesterday, adding: “As carriers again look to alternate West Coast ports like Oakland and now Portland, volumes have started causing backlogs in East Coast ports such as Philadelphia as well.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Just out of curiosity what benefit would anybody receive by delaying these shipments? If we were to go down the conspiracy theory rabbit hole….Who do you think would be the biggest benefactor?

  2. Mark are you from local 13 no traveling to the port of los angels we dont want any other locals in the port of Los angels and long beach we dont care if the ship sits at Anchorage Frank Ponce de Leon and the coast committee for the ilwu and Pacific maritime association has been signing letters to close the port of l.a and long beach for no traveling to the port of l.a did you know that who they need to ask about if you equipment operators and Clerks to work the shifts why are you not letting other ports come to help you like you did and the years before

Back to top button