Southern California: container ships in drift area shatter records

© Marine Exchange of Southern California

The ongoing shipping congestion crisis rolls on, as now some 29 container ships are at anchor in the drift areas of the ports of San Pedro Bay, breaking a record.

In a 20 September vessel update, the Marine Exchange of Southern California reported that the 29 vessels break the previous record of 23 on 16 September.

The total of 154 ships – the sum of vessels at a berth, at anchor, and drifting – in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is one vessel short of the record set on 20 September.

“Due to the record number of ships drifting, we are letting them drift further out than our usual 25 mile Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) area so they have more space between them,” the Marine Exchange of Southern California, which operates the VTS service for the San Pedro Bay ports, wrote in a social media post.

“All ships have been fabulous working with each other and the VTS on the radio, and watched over by the VTS 7/24/365 to ensure all comply with our standards of care such as keeping 2 miles from each other, shore and shallow water, and out of the shipping lanes,” the post, signed by Captain Kip Louttit as Executive Director of the marine exchange, added.

© Marine Exchange of Southern California

Vessel congestion, not just outside of the major ports of Los Angles and Long Beach, is one of the hottest talking points in the industry currently.

Increased e-commerce demand, in addition to tight inland capacity, warehousing storage facilities, and labour availability have all been highlighted by experts as prime drivers behind the soaring numbers of vessels waiting to access ports.

In a bid to alleviate increasing vessel traffic, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles announced on 17 September that they will expand hours of container pick up availability for the chassis sector.

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