Six weeks into 2021 and approaching the Lunar New Year holiday, which normally starts a slowdown in imports from Asia, the containership backlog at the Southern California ports is showing no signs of letting up. While the number of ships at anchor declined slightly, the number of ships on berth set a new record, and port officials are preparing for another wave of arrivals.
The U.S. Coast Guard recently released video of a flyover of the San Pedro Bay that gives a sense of just how congested the ports have become. Shot in late January, the area looks like a congested highway familiar to many of the world’s commuters.
On February 8, the Marine Exchange of Southern California reported that the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach had set a new record for the number of ships on berth. There was a total of 108 ships in the port, which had increased by two from the prior day. They reported a record total of 62 ships on berth of which 32 were containerships, which was also a new record for the port.
The number of containerships in the anchorage however was trending downward which the port officials took as a positive sign that the backlog was declining. At the beginning of the week, 30 boxships were still waiting for berths down from 40 the prior week. After having had to open up drift areas for the first time in 16 years a the end of January, the Marine Exchange reported that no ships were in the drift positions.
Despite the signs of progress, the Port of Los Angeles’s Signal port optimizer data is still recording an average of eight days in the anchorage for a containership waiting for space at the terminals. TEU volumes were also off slightly to just over 90,000 units moving through the Port of Los Angeles this week, but in a sign of the coming volumes, the port optimizer is projecting that volumes will jump back to between 160,000 and 170,000 TEUs for each of the next three weeks.
Reflecting the anticipated volume increases, the Marine Exchange reported yesterday that the anchorage was again full with 50 ships and that they had to again open the drift areas, places where the ships remain with power in effect circling waiting for an appropriate anchorage to become available. With 15 additional ships due to arrive today and only six due to move from the anchorage to the berth, the Marine Exchange reported that it needed several more drift areas to accommodate the increasing number of ships.
“We work with each ship and captain to agree on a good place to drift, we monitor them carefully and keep them 2 miles apart and away from shore,” they wrote in their update on volume in the San Pedro Bay.
Frustrated by the delays and lost productivity many of the shipping lines are searching for alternatives to keeping their ships waiting for long periods. A spokesperson for Hapag-Lloyd told a reporter at The Wall Street Journal that the line had canceled between 20 and 30 percent of its sailings into Southern California due to the delays, while CMA CGM announced it was altering the route on one of its lines substituting calls in Seattle and using Oakland, California as its terminal. Even this strategy has been backfiring as the shipping lines are reporting increasing backlogs and delays now at all of the major container terminal ports on the Pacific Coast.
The shipping lines have been compounding the problem adding what the ports call “extra loaders,” meaning additional ships beyond the scheduled runs which the lines are using to increase capacity and reduce the backlogs in Asia. While they might be helping in Asia, these boxships are increasing the number of ships jockeying for space at the West Coast terminals.
While there had been some hope that the backlogs might be easing, this week the National Retail Federation projected that imports of retail goods would continue to set monthly records at the major U.S. ports through at least mid-year meaning that shippers and carriers can expect the delays to continue and possibly worsen as 2021 progresses.
Go to Source
A massive fire broke out at the Port of Beirut on Thursday, incinerating a warehouse full of tires and oil within the port’s free zone. The same area was heavily damaged in the ammonium nitrate explosion that leveled the central port area and the adjacent waterfront on August 4. According to Lebanon’s civil defense agency, […]
Over the course of the past five days, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority arranged a medical intervention for an injured aboard a freighter in the Indian Ocean. On Saturday evening, the Spliethoff tweendecker Dolfijngracht called for assistance while under way about 1,000 nauical miles off the coast of Western Australia. A crewmember had sustained serious […]
The naval forces of the US and Bahrain recently staged a joint force training exercise which showcased the interoperability between coalition warships operating I the Arabian Gulf. Coalition Task Force Sentinel executed combined exercise Sentinel Shield supporting Sentry and Sentinel patrols in the coalition’s area of operations. The guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones and […]
With close to 100 daily cargo flights operated to a destination network spanning more than 65 cities across six continents, Emirates SkyCargo is delivering essential supplies and commodities to people around the world. The air cargo carrier is currently operating 11 Boeing 777 freighter aircraft, each with a capacity to transport about 100 tonnes of […]
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a Marine Accident Brief about an accident that occurred on April 15, 2019, involving the towing vessel DeJeanne Maria which struck the end of a submerged dredge pipeline while pushing two spud barges to the Gulf of Mexico. The incident occurred on the Mississippi River in Pass […]
Best known as a leading passenger airport serving Germany’s most populated federal state North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf has become transformed into a vital distribution point, during the COVID 19 pandemic, for medical equipment and other life-saving goods, mostly from China. Gerton Hulsman, managing director of cargo operations, reports that the handling teams are working hard to […]
DSV Belgium has solid experience in the transport of pharmaceutical products for different customers. With a pharma hub based at Brussels Airport a lot of experience and know-how has been built up over the years. Last weekend, the forwarder handled one hundred million mouth masks, an important milestone for its Belgian organisation that has put […]
The UK government’s new post-Brexit tariff regime will result in both winners and losers. The new regime is set to replace the European Union’s Common External Tariff from the end of the Brexit Transition Period on December 31, 2020. The UK’s commitment to the ongoing Brexit process and ending the UK’s transition from EU membership […]
Emirates SkyCargo has expanded its weekly scheduled cargo flight operations to cover 75 destinations across six continents. Through its wider reach, Emirates SkyCargo is able to transport essential commodities and other urgently needed cargo more rapidly across the world, allowing exporters and importers across markets to benefit from direct access to widebody cargo capacity. Some […]
Global commercial aviation charter company Albion Aviation Group is reporting that it is seeing a considerable uptake in its professional cargo broker training courses from the current global pandemic crisis and surge in charter demand. “We have completed a number webinar courses for a whole of host of companies, looking to manage their own cargo […]
Operators can continue to use pilots and other crew members who have unable to comply with certain training, recent experience, testing, and checking requirements due to the COVID-19 outbreak in support of essential operations. Additionally, this Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) provides regulatory relief to certain persons and pilot schools unable to meet duration and […]
Astral Aviation has increased its intra-African network with cargo freighters during the pandemic. While there has been a reduction in capacity to, from, and within Africa, which has been caused by a stoppage of passenger flights and limited frequencies on freighter aircraft, Astral Aviation continues to operate cargo freighters from its Nairobi hub to 13 destinations […]
The U-Freight Group (UFL), with its considerable involvement in eCommerce logistics, says that the latest statistics showing that global e-commerce sales hit $25.6 trillion in 2018 are a further vindication of its decision to enter this sector of the international freight market several years ago. The latest available estimates, up 8% from 2017, were recently […]
Callan Marine is serving as the prime contractor to the Texas Department of Transportation for a maintenance dredging project located at the Bolivar Ferry Terminal, in Galveston, Texas. Work began in May and is estimated to be complete in late July 2020. The project consists of the removal of 600,000 cubic yards of material and […]
Network Airline Management and TAAG Angola Airlines are pleased to announce the renewal of their long-term freighter aircraft contract by an additional 12 months, sealing an ongoing partnership for the foreseeable future. Operating a regular weekly scheduled service from Liege, Belgium, to the capital of Angola, Luanda, Network Airline Management provides a Boeing 747-400F aircraft […]
Qatar Airways Cargo transported 56 SkyCell containers with vaccines from one of the largest vaccine manufacturers worldwide on its scheduled freighter and belly-hold cargo flights for its customer, CEVA Logistics. The 54-tonne shipment consisting of pneumococcal and varicella vaccines were flown from Brussels to Mumbai via the carrier’s hub in Doha on two separate flights. […]