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  • Writer's pictureJoseph O'Donnell

Vessel wait times in LA - Long Beach surpass levels during 2014-2015 port strike.

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

Updated March 2, 2021

Vessel wait times at the ports of LA - Long Beach have increased substantially since the peak season began in August, 2020.

As of March 2nd, there are 41 vessels anchored off the coast waiting for their turn to berth at the port (photos from the Los Angeles Times can be viewed here). The number of vessels waiting to berth is higher than the levels seen during the 2014 - 2015 port strike.

Aerial view of port of Long Beach - Photo from Wikipedia Commons.

The root of this issue stems from the record number of imports that flooded the west coast from Asia within the last few months.

Additionally, the area is still suffering a shortage of labor due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, container processing times are longer than usual, which has increased the turnaround time for vessels docked at the port terminals.

This has caused a rippling effect of delays for all shipments departing and arriving via the west coast. Vessel schedules are changing several times a week, sometimes by the hour, as more vessels are scheduled to call to the port in the upcoming weeks.

Moreover, there is still a lack of trucks and equipment available to transport and load containers which is extending delays further. Overall, shipments in the area are experiencing delays of up to 30+ days.

Thus, It is highly recommended that exporters and importers do all they can to avoid shipping materials via the west coast. Furthermore, all shipments during this time should be booked at least two weeks in advance, if possible, to try circumventing these unavoidable delays.

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