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January 16, 2021 Blog

Port Delays Leave Cargo Ships Stranded off U.S. Pacific Gateways

This week alone, more than 40 cargo ships were lined up off the coast of Los Angeles and Long Beach in a new sign of unyielding backlogs that are hampering U.S. importers at the country's main trade gateways.

The new shipping surge, that began in late summer, has only rose during the holiday season and into the new year as retailers and manufacturers try to rebuild inventories that were depleted at the onset of the pandemic.

"Huge numbers of medical supplies keep on coming along with furniture, appliances, construction material, landscaping, hot tubs and anything related to the outdoors," said Mario Cordero, executive director at the Port of Long Beach. He believes Americans will continue to spend and that the shipping surge will continue into late spring.

Many large corporations say that that backlogs and added storage at ports are providing significant challenge" to profit margins.

Los Angeles and Long Beach handled 909,021 inbound containers in October, more than double the number the ports saw in March. The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which represents ship operators that serve the West Coast, said about a quarter of all inbound containers waited more than five days on docks to be delivered to customers in October and November, compared with between 2% and 4% in the first half of 2020.

Due to the pandemic surge, experts believe that ship landings and cargo tonnes will continue to rise through March, or even later.

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This week alone, more than 40 cargo ships were lined up off the coast of Los Angeles and Long Beach in a new sign of unyielding backlogs that are hampering U.S. importers at the country's main trade gateways.

The new shipping surge, that began in late summer, has only rose during the holiday season and into the new year as retailers and manufacturers try to rebuild inventories that were depleted at the onset of the pandemic.

"Huge numbers of medical supplies keep on coming along with furniture, appliances, construction material, landscaping, hot tubs and anything related to the outdoors," said Mario Cordero, executive director at the Port of Long Beach. He believes Americans will continue to spend and that the shipping surge will continue into late spring.

Many large corporations say that that backlogs and added storage at ports are providing significant challenge" to profit margins.

Los Angeles and Long Beach handled 909,021 inbound containers in October, more than double the number the ports saw in March. The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which represents ship operators that serve the West Coast, said about a quarter of all inbound containers waited more than five days on docks to be delivered to customers in October and November, compared with between 2% and 4% in the first half of 2020.

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