Number of ships at anchor rising at California ports

Port of Los Angeles

According to data from the Marine Exchange of Southern California, congestion is on the rise at the four major ports in southern California – Port Hueneme, Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego – and the marine oil terminal at El Segundo, the facilities monitored by the exchange. In fact, the number of vessels in port has not dropped below 100 since July 19, when the number was 94.

In mid-July, the ports experienced about a week with fewer than 100 vessels a day. That figure has been over 110 now for the past few days.

Similarly, the number of ships at anchor is growing. Fifty-eight ships were at anchor on August 9 compared with numbers in the high 30s in the middle of last month and a recent low of 33 on July 14. The number has not been below 47 since July 21.

Ships awaiting berth are also on the increase, reaching a recent high of 41 on August 6, compared with a week or so in mid-July in the high teens and low 20s.

These trends are not unexpected. Industry pundits have been anticipating an extra-busy peak season at American ports, as high consumer demand continues and shippers strive to increase inventory before the holiday season.

Further north in California, the port of Oakland is also experiencing increasing congestion with 11 ships waiting for berths to open up today.

Intermodal issues are snarling containers across the US. According to an update from Maersk, the average dwell times in the US have increased by 35% in recent weeks.

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