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.”