Backlog At California Ports Reaches 111 Cargo Vessels As US Consumers’ Buying Spree For Christmas Season Approaches

On Tuesday, the number of container vessels stuck off the Southern California coast reached new records. Per data shared by the Marine Exchange, 111 container vessels are seen bobbing at sea around Los Angeles (LA) and Long Beach (LB) ports. These are waiting to unload. The number has surpassed the previous record of 108 vessels as observed on 21 October.

The two ports stayed clogged irrespective of efforts for speeding up container processing amid a surge in demand for commodities. The White House has also announced adopting an around-the-clock schedule through October and a threat of fines for keeping containers at the dock for days.

A major supply chain crisis has resulted owing to a sudden drop in demand for shipping in the early days of the pandemic. It was also followed by a steep rise at the end of that year has led to shipping delays and blockages worldwide.

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Containers are stacked up at docks for weeks waiting to be unloaded. However, a dire shortage of truck drivers and on-dock workers has resulted in long delays. Port jams indicate that the ships are not able to dock and/or drop new cargo.

The extent of the logjam continues to be unprecedented. When the Covid-19 pandemic had not started, the ports had not experienced a backlog exceeding 17 ships, Kip Louttit, Marine Exchange’s head, previously informed the Insider. Over the last few months, it is usual to observe more than 100 ships that are waiting to berth.

Last month, the two ports have reported that they would start to fine shipping enterprises. They would levy approximately $100 per day for each container that remains at the dock. The ports are now actively collecting the data during the initial days of November. They will start charging companies on 15 November.

The shipping companies have only three days to transfer containers if the next step is movement via rail, or nine days if by truck. Experts reportedly say that the fees will do just a little to get rid of port jams.

Corey Bertsch, VP Solutions Consulting at, an international logistics major has said that the problem is not zero desire to shift boxes but the absence of space is.

The fine will be passed to the owners of cargo who are likely to begrudgingly acknowledge that the rates have risen. The containers would move if they could, but it is a combination of trucks, warehouses, and labor-related issues.

Per data shared by American Shipper, the trade publication, during the initial days of the month, there were about 60,000 cargo containers at the ports for over nine days. They would, therefore, be charged a fine.


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