Port congestion on both coasts of North America continues to be a serious problem, although waiting vessels appear to be easing this week.
According to a customer update from German shipping line Hapag-Lloyd yesterday, there are currently 35 vessels at anchor waiting to berth at the two major U.S. ports, Los Angeles and Long Beach, due to increased import volumes and a lack of dock labor due to an outbreak of Covid.
This figure has been reduced by two vessels since January 29. Fortunately, California has implemented an urgent vaccination program for its hardest-hit dock workers.
Further north, there were 10 ships waiting to dock in Oakland last Friday.
In New York, dock congestion has eased slightly, with vessels waiting more than one or two days to berth at several terminals.
The main factors causing the congestion are weather-related delays. Like many other North American ports, Hapag-Lloyd cited increased wait times for import volumes and large inventories of empty containers that continue to affect operations at all New York terminals.
The only port really under more pressure this month appears to be Savannah, where Hapag-Lloyd recorded 16 vessels at anchor as of last Friday, a figure that was up by six from the previous fortnight.
In Canada, congestion in Vancouver is expected to last well into the second quarter, Hapag-Lloyd sources say. Dwell times in Halifax were recorded at 1.9 days, in Montreal at 3.2 days, in Vancouver at 3 days and in Prince Rupert at 9.8 days.