By early Wednesday afternoon, 62 ships were anchored in San Pedro Bay, including 20 container ships bound for the Port of Los Angeles.
The US Coast Guard is understood to have released video confirming the extent of the traffic congestion at the San Pedro Bay ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, said at a news conference on Wednesday: "We don't normally dock any container ships under normal circumstances.Before the import surge, we typically saw berths for 10 to 12 container ships in a single day at the Port of Los Angeles.Today, we handle an average of 15 container ships a day, "Seroka said."Right now, about 15 percent of ships going to Los Angeles dock directly.Eighty-five percent of ships are anchored, and the average wait time has been increasing.When the ship first began to lay anchor and wait in November, it took about two and a half days to anchor.So far in February, berthing time is now eight days."
Container terminals, freight companies, railways and warehouses are "overloaded", he says
"Containers on the docks are still sitting for about five days, twice as long as they were before last summer's import surge.The traditional waiting warehouse space for a 40-foot container is now 7.6 days, "Seroka said.
What causes the port congestion?
He says many factors contribute to the congestion in San Pedro Bay.
"This is an epidemic driven buying spree that is different from what we have seen in the past from the US consumer.Most of us don't spend money on services.We don't go to movies, we don't fly, we don't go to ball games.We spend our money on tangible goods.That is what is really driving the unprecedented surge in imports.
Container ships forced to stay longer has forced some shipping lines to cancel several trips this month.This is not due to lack of demand for goods, but due to lack of ships available to handle these services.
Delays on land caused a stalemate at sea.The extremely high volume of arrivals combined with logistical complications in and around the ports caused delays on land.
One of the challenges facing the port is the novel coronavirus infection of the dockers.As of January 17, the International Terminals and Warehouse Union (ILWU) reported that 694 of its members had tested positive.By Jan. 25, that number had jumped to 803.