“There was fleeting hope that Southern California port congestion had turned the corner. The number of container ships waiting offshore dipped to the low 60s and high 50s from a record high of 73 on Sept. 19, trans-Pacific spot rates plateaued, the Biden administration unveiled aspirations for 24/7 port ops, and electricity shortages curbed Chinese factory output,” the Freighways website reported.
But in fact, the site notes further, the port congestion crisis that has been plaguing Southern California isn’t really improving at all.
The site notes that wait times for ships offshore are growing because there are too many vessels arriving daily and there are not enough resources to get cargo distributed in a timely manner. In fact, Freightways says that already, ports have far too much cargo for their terminals, trains, trucks and warehouses, as capacity has been stretched to the limit.
“The number of ships at anchor or in holding patterns is once again at record levels. According to the Marine Exchange of Southern California, 79 container ships were waiting off Los Angeles and Long Beach on Thursday, yet another all-time record,” the website reported, adding:
Marine Exchange data shows that ships waiting offshore on Thursday — including the 79 container ships as well as six additional cargo vessels carrying containers — had aggregate capacity of 597,250 twenty-foot equivalent units. To put that in perspective, that is 28% more than the Port of Los Angeles imported during the entire month of September and 70% of the combined Los Angles/Long Beach port complex’s September imports.
Assuming ships are at capacity, how much cargo value is out there in the “floating warehouse”? What’s in each box, and its value, varies dramatically — it can be worth a few thousand dollars or several hundred thousand dollars. But Port of Los Angeles stats provide a good guide.