Record 56 containerships queued at LA/Long Beach ports

There are now nearly twice as many containerships waiting to get into the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (LA/LB) as there are berthed for cargo operations.
Marcus Hand | Sep 14, 2021

The number of containerships either at anchor or adrift in San Pedro Bay has now reached a new record of 56, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California. At the same time there are 31 containerships at berth in the ports of LA/LB meaning that if numbers of continue to rise there will soon be double the number of boxships outside the ports as they can handle at any one time.

The number of ships waiting at LA/LB has surged as importers look to be beat the peak season.

According to the Port of Los Angeles the waiting time at anchorage is 8.5 days based on a 30-day rolling average. For the week of 12 – 18 September it expects import volumes of 133,582 teu, up 9.14% on the previous week, and 25.06% year-on-year. Import volumes are expected rise further 21.65% at the Port of LA in the week of 19 – 25 September to 162,498 teu, up 45.37% year-on-year.

A record imbalance between import and export volumes is causing a huge pile up of empty containers in Southern Californian ports as Seatrade Maritime News reported last week. The upcoming Golden Week holidays from 1 – 7 October in China may give some respite with container lines blanking a number sailings for this period.

Meanwhile it is not just delays to imports that are causing concerns in the US, environmental groups are worried about the pollution from the large number of ships waiting at anchor.

Mandeera Wijetunga, Climate Campaigner, Southern California, Pacific Environment stated: “Just like idling cars, fossil fueled ships idling outside of our ports emit pollution that is bad for our air, bad for our communities and compounds our climate crisis. Emissions from the shipping industry contribute to the worst impacts of climate change, choke the air around our port communities and the surge from ships restocking for the holiday season has led to shocking levels of air pollution. (Source: Seatrade Maritime News)


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