Due to the recent surge of cargo ships entering the U.S. ports, a record-high backlog of cargo ships was witnessed at California ports.

A record 70 cargo ships are stuck outside Los Angeles and Long Beach ports in California, which handle 40 percent of all cargo containers entering the U.S.

Problems at California Ports

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was unusual for more than one ship to wait to dock and unload. But recently, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California experienced a pile-up of cargo ships.

According to Business Insider, 97 hulking cargo ships were waiting at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports on Monday. The Marine Exchange of Southern California noted that 70 out of the 97 containers were at anchor or in drift areas at the time, waiting for space to open up in the port.

The backlog in California ports was linked to the surging demand for imports as the U.S. economy has reopened.

The retailers and manufacturers have rushed to place orders and restock their inventories as the economy rises. However, the global shipping system is still struggling to keep up with the surge in demands.

Last week, Port of Los Angeles head Gene Seroka warned that a "significant volume" of cargo was heading their way "throughout this year and into 2022."

"We continue to monitor a host of variables; disruptions continue at every node in the supply chain," Seroka said.

Together, Los Angeles and Long Beach are the main seaborne gateway to the U.S., especially for imports from China.

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Record-High Backlog of Cargo Ships in California Ports

Last Saturday, a record 73 ships were stuck outside Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, a number that's almost twice as many at the same time in August. Reports noted that a shortage of trucks to transport the goods from the ports adds to the concern.

On Sunday, Director Of Operations at Village Global Sam Kirschner snapped a photo from his plane window above the shore of Southern California ports.

It captures the seriousness of the situation that turned the coast like into a parking lot for vessels weighing over 200,000 tonnes and can be worth over $100 million as ships wait over a week to dock and unload.

The ports recently had hit a new ship-backlog record every day, queueing lengthened by 10 ships. 

Due to the record-high backlog, some cargo ships have been diverted to other ports to prevent thousands of containers from being unloaded. However, nearby ports like Oakland do not have the capacity to deal with the volume of trade.

The Los Angeles port alone handled a 30 percent higher cargo amount this year compared with last year.

Kip Louttit, the executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, said that before the COVID-19 pandemic, the ports usually had zero to one ship waiting to dock.

Early this year, Louttit told Insider that the sheer enormity of the ships has also made the issue worse.

"Part of the problem is the ships are double or triple the size of the ships we were seeing 10 or 15 years ago. They take longer to unload. You need more trucks, more trains, more warehouses to put the cargo," Louttit noted.

Several social media users have also shared photos of the recent congestion from nearby beaches.

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This article is owned by Latin Post

Written by: Jess Smith

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