The nation’s largest ports shattered more records Monday as massive bottlenecks at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach continue to wreak supply chain havoc.
The Marine Exchange of Southern California reported 100 vessels berthed October 18, topping the previous record of 97 set September 19.
Both figures are astonishingly higher than during pre-pandemic times, when just 17 ships were anchored.
Officials have resorted to holding areas not used since 2004 to accommodate the surge of container, bulk, and cargo ships.
Cargo carriers have waited up to five weeks for their turn to unload goods, said Capt. Kit Louttit, executive director of the marine exchange.
Thousands of containers sit, waiting to be unloaded from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where vessel traffic broke all-time records Monday as the supply crunch continues
The Marine Exchange of Southern California reported 100 vessels at anchor October 18, topping the previous record of 97 set September 19
Of the 100 vessels at anchor, 70 are cargo ships carrying consumer goods to Americans
The ports’ contingency anchorages, which previously went unused, are now ‘essentially full’
‘Crews are bored to tears,’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘They’re sitting on the ship, looking onshore, eating three meals a day and standing watch.’
Once the containers reach land, it takes weeks more to queue and unload them, he added.
Of the vessels at harbor Monday, 33 container ships were stuck in holding areas, breaking a former record of 29 set on September 20.
Louttit said he’s never seen anything like it.
‘It is an all-time record to have 100 vessels out there,’ he said.
‘The number of container ships out there is 70, so there’s your holiday shopping.’
Kit Louttit, executive director of the marine exchange, said he’s never seen anything like it
The White House warned American shoppers last week that they won’t be able to get key items such as popular kids toys for Christmas because of supply chain backlogs.
Stores across the country are becoming increasingly barren thanks to a series of bottlenecks in the global supply chain.
Many goods that are made in China – such as toys, clothes, home appliances and more – are stuck either in factories there or in containers on board cargo ships off the coast that are waiting their turn to dock.
President Joe Biden reached a deal October 13 with unions and business leaders from Walmart, FedEx, UPS and others to expand operations at the ports in a bid to ease supply chain bottlenecks that are driving up consumer prices and emptying store shelves.
Once implemented the proposed changes could increase output by more than 3,500 shipping containers per week, White House officials said.
Under the new agreement the Port of Los Angeles will join the Port of Long Beach in working around the clock to alleviate some of the supply chain bottlenecks plaguing consumers ahead of the holiday season.
Together the California ports see 40 percent of all shipping containers that enter the US.
Long Beach expanded its operations to 24-hours seven-days-per-week in September.
Now, Los Angeles port officials and union leaders have agreed to add off-peak nighttime and weekend hours to help drive consumer prices down as well.
Goods at the Port of Los Angeles move 25 percent faster at night than during the day, White House officials have said.
They argue that expanding to overnight operation would help lighten the load on other links in the supply chain by easing traffic congestion during the day.
The backlog is also irritating local residents, who say empty shipping containers are being dumped in local communities.
Together the California ports see 40 percent of all shipping containers that enter the country
Once the containers reach land, it takes weeks more to queue and unload them
‘It’s a bunch of neighbors that are very upset because it’s a non-stop situation,’ Sonia Cervantes told CBS Los Angeles.
‘I would have to go in at 6:30 a.m. to go to work. There was a trailer already blocking my driveway so I couldn’t get out. With no driver in the trailer, so we would honk and honk, and it was just crazy.’
UCTI Trucking owner Frank Arrieran told the outlet that he’s resorted to keeping the containers on his yard, where space is already at a premium.
“Right now with the ports and everything that’s going on over there, we’re stuck with the containers, having to bring them all to the yard, and we only have so much space,” said UCTI Trucking owner Frank Arrieran.
Added Cervantes: ‘Sometimes they just unload the trailer in the street with no front part of it, and they just leave it there.’