Vessel congestion outside the largest U.S. gateway for Asian imports remained high and the wait to unload containers stretched to as long as eight days, adding costs and complications for companies trying to stay well-supplied in an accelerating economy.
A total of 28 container ships were at anchor waiting to enter the neighboring ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, as of Sunday, up from 26 a week earlier, though still down from a peak of 40 in early February, according to officials overseeing shipping traffic in San Pedro Bay. Another 16 are scheduled to arrive over the next three days, with seven expected to drop anchor and join the queue.
According to the Port of Los Angeles, the average wait for a berth has increased to 8 days, up from 7.9 days the previous week. That’s nearly triple the average backlog from November.
The backlog, which began forming in October, has been difficult to clear due to shortages of both equipment and manpower needed to handle a relentless wave of imports. March is usually one of the slowest months for inbound goods, but this year’s influx of containerized equipment shows little sign of abating.