Port Congestion Continues to Create Major Pinch-Points in the Supply Chain

According to Freightwave.com and American Shipper, as of Tuesday (9-21-21) there were approximately 70 container ships loaded with cargo waiting at anchor or drifting off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. While the numbers fluctuate from day to day, there were 70 container ships in the queue on Monday with total capacity of 432,909 twenty-foot equivalent units.

To put the enormity of the number in perspective, that’s more than the inbound container volume the Port of Long Beach handled in the entire month of August. It’s roughly what Charleston handles inbound in four months and what Savannah handles in two.

A significant change over the course of this year’s congestion crisis is that the average capacity of ships calling in Los Angeles/Long Beach has decreased, meaning that terminals handle more ships to move the same throughput. Vessel-positioning data from Marine Traffic confirms that a steady stream of container ships remains en route across the Pacific, destined for Los Angeles, meaning congestions is going to get worse before it gets better anytime soon.

On board these vessels and in their cargo containers are everything from Halloween and Christmas decorations, to big screen TV’s, computers and computer chips needed for automobile manufacturing, to windows, doors, molding and millwork, flooring, plumbing, electrical and HVAC pieces and parts, to appliances and kitchen and bathroom cabinets and the list goes on and on. Many of these items desperately needed to complete new single-family homes and multifamily units.


FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.
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Just how many containers of cargo are stuck off California’s coast?