In a social media post from shipping analyst Lars Jensen on 25 October 2021, it was revealed that a total of 79 container vessels, plus a dozens of general cargo vessels, were now waiting outside of the ports in southern California. This count does not include the additional 28 vessels shown at berth currently.
In a previous announcement from President Biden on 13 October 2021, new initiatives were to be introduced at the ports to help alleviate the current pressure they face. This included moving to 24/7 operations at the Port of Los Angeles.
The Port of Long Beach expanded operations at one of its terminals to overnight shifts in September 2021 and also held a regional supply chain summit attended by John Porcari, Port Envoy to the White House Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, along with representatives from California Governor Gavin Newsom’s office to take steps to speed up cargo handling.
Jensen’s update on the situation also evaluated the current data coming out of Fenix Marine Services’ Terminal at the Port of Los Angeles. The terminal revealed that in the past week 45-55% of import appointment slots were going unused, therefore either not booked at all, or booked but then not used.
This led to Jensen criticising the move to 24/7 operations, as he posted “In this context, it is difficult to see how increased gate hours would in a meaningful way be able to help alleviate the problems.”
The last update from PTI on the ongoing congestion crisis in southern California reported that an even 100 vessels were classified at anchor on 18 October 2021, breaking the record of 97 set on 19 September 2021.
The following day, Jensen reported 70 container vessels in the water outside the ports, noting that the “gradual improvement” of reduction in container vessels waiting at anchor had essentially been undone.