Southern California: more records broken as vessels at-anchor reaches triple figures

Marine Exchange of Southern California

Vessel congestion outside the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has worsened as an even 100 vessels were classified at anchor.

In a noon report local time for 18 October, the Marine Exchange of Southern California wrote that of the 157 vessels of all types inport (within 40 miles of the ports), 100 were waiting at anchor – breaking the record of 97 set on 19 September.

Of the 157 total vessels, 97 were container ships, an increase of six from 15 October.

Some 70 of the container ships were classified as at anchor in the exchange’s database – an increase of eight from 15 October.

© Marine Exchange of Southern California

The 33 container ships in holding areas – meaning not physically anchored to the seabed – breaks the former record of 29 on 20 September.

Some 43 vessels in holding areas is “43 more than normal,” according to Captain Kip Louttit, Executive Director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, wrote in a social media post.

The well-documented congestion ongoing outside the major Southern Californian ports has been one of the biggest topics of discussion for shipping in 2021.

Increasing call load sizes driven by e-commerce demand, combined with lack of capacity inland, has driven President Joe Biden to meet with heads of the two major ports to expand gate timings to 24/7 operations.

Experts have forecasted Chinese Lunar New Year 2023 as a target for relief in ports from ongoing congestion.

In an update from shipping analyst Lars Jensen on 19 October, Jensen noted that the “gradual improvement” of reduction in container vessels waiting at anchor has essentially been undone.

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