Boxship backlog at Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles finally ends

Los Angeles, California, USA - October 9, 2021: Cranes at the Port of Los Angeles waiting to off load container ships

The two-year stretch of a containership backup at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach has officially ended.

The Marine Exchange of Southern California (MX), the non-profit data reportage organisation based at the San Pedro Bay, made the announcement on 22 November.

Containerships queuing up outside the major US West Coast ports was a regular sight throughout the pandemic, with a peak of 109 on 9 January 2022.

Now, zero vessels are queuing outside of the ports compared to the 81 containerships on 22 November 2021.

Two years ago, following an increase in pandemic-driven import demand, the backup at the port went from zero to 42 between 15 Oct 2020 to Feb 2021.

© Maritime Exchange of Southern California via Facebook

READ: Port of Los Angeles misses green target amid vessel backlog

The backlog dropped to nine in June 2021, and then increased through the late summer and fall of 2021 to a peak of 109 on 9 January 2022.

The New Queuing System for Labour commenced on 16 November 2021, Executive Director at Marine Exchange of Southern California Captain Kip Louttit wrote in a social media post.

The new system did not solve the backup but moved the backed-up container ships 50-150 miles offshore, outside the safety and air quality area (SAQA) where they waited. 

The ports went from 86 container ships anchored or loitering/drifting in its waters on 16 Nov 2021, and went to zero loitering on 3 February 2022 and remained at low levels subsequently.

“Pretty amazing the backup is over after 25 months (we use 15 Oct 2020 as the start),” wrote Captain Louttit.

“Thanks to all who cleared the backlog, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA) led Industry Working Group that designed the new voluntary queuing system for labour, and the ocean carriers for voluntarily complying.”

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