As the world’s supply chains buckle under the pressure of container and labour shortages, a record number of freight ships are currently stuck awaiting entry into California’s two largest ports, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California. The California port congestion is attributed to labour shortages, Covid-19-related disruptions, and holiday-buying surges. At the Port of Los Angeles, average wait time has increased to 7.6 days, Business Insider reports. In mid-August there were 37 ships waiting to enter the two ports, and the number is now up to 44.
Kip Louttit, executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, told Insider in July that the normal number of container ships at anchor is between zero and one. California ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach account for about one-third of US imports. These ports operate as a primary source of imports from China and have experienced heavy congestion throughout the pandemic.