Shipping congestion appears to be easing at the biggest port complex in the United States, though it remains to be seen whether this will be a lasting trend.
Dockers at the adjoining ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have made progress in the past week by reducing by nearly half a backlog that peaked at 40 vessels six weeks ago. Capt. J. Kipling, Executive Director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, reported that “22 container ships at anchor (on Sunday) is the fewest since February 27-28.”
He added that the trend looks “even over the next three days but can spike up or down depending on arrivals and shifts from anchor to berth.”
The 37 vessels scheduled over the three days is qualified as exactly the “normal” level based on pre-COVID 2018/2019 levels.
The average wait for berth space of 7.6 days has changed little from a week ago.
How long the overall congestion persists depends on how import volumes from Asia evolve between now and the start of the peak season in August. Gene Seroka, Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles, has pointed out that weekly import volumes thus far this year are “30 to 40 times higher” than in 2019 and previous years. (photo Port of Long Beach)