Source: Joe Hoft
What is really going on? Why are so many boats at anchor offshore near Los Angeles and Long Beach in California? Why are they being delayed and prevented from offloading into the US?
According to Zerohedge:
There were an all-time-high 61 container ships in the queue in San Pedro Bay on Wednesday, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California. Of those, a record 21 were forced to drift because anchorages were full.
Theoretically, the numbers — already surreally high — could go a lot higher than this. While designated anchorages are limited, the space for ships to safely drift offshore is not.
“There’s lots of ocean for drifting — there’s no limit,” Capt. Kip Loutit, executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, told American Shipper.
“Our usual VTS [Vessel Traffic Service] area is a 25-mile radius from Point Fermin by the entrance to Los Angeles, which gives a 50-mile diameter to drift ships. We could easily expand to a 40-mile radius, because we track them within that radius for air-quality reasons. That would give us an 80-mile diameter to drift ships,” said Loutit.
The Los Angeles Business Journal reports today:
With some 60 container cargo ships idling at the entrance of the port complex last week, traffic congestion in the San Pedro Bay shows no signs of letting up.
The Port of Los Angeles processed 954,377 twenty-foot equivalent units of cargo last month, about the same as in August 2020 and a 10.8% increase from 861,080 TEUs it moved during the same period in 2019.
Imports reached 485,672 TEUs, a 6% decrease compared to August 2020.
The cargo volume for the first eight months of the year at the port added up to 7.27 million TEUs, an increase of 30.3% compared to the same period in 2020.
In September, the port is expecting about 930,000 TEUs, compared to about 880,000 last year. October figures to be busy too. Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka put next month’s forecast at 950,000 TEUs.
The real problem may be exports are down.