The San Pedro Bay port complex, which consists of the two busiest container ports in the United States, is experiencing its largest backlog of ships on record, with more than 58 vessels waiting to enter the ports Tuesday.
The Port of Los Angeles said Tuesday morning that 28 ships were waiting to get into the Port of L.A. and 30 waiting to get into the Port of Long Beach. In the last few weeks, more than 70 ships were waiting to get into the two ports.
Lee Peterson of the Port of Long Beach said it is the largest backlog the San Pedro Bay ports have experienced.
The Port of L.A. attributed the backlog to an unprecedented buying surge that is straining all aspects of the supply chain, including by filling container terminals at the port complex.
On Sept. 17, the two ports announced new measures, including expanded truck pickup and return hours, to improve freight movement and reduce delays. The Port of Long Beach expanded operations into night hours as a first step toward reaching a 24/7 supply chain, and the Port of Los Angeles expanded weekend operating gate hours as a pilot program.
Together, the ports move about a third of all containerized cargo that enters the country annually, as well as about a third of all containerized exports. The ports are working with the White House Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to expedite the time it takes for goods to be received by consumers and expand opportunities for U.S. exporters.
Councilman Joe Buscaino, who represents San Pedro, has introduced a motion seeking a report on the backlog and its environmental impacts. The motion was scheduled for a vote Tuesday, but it was sent back to committee.
“There are currently dozens of cargo ships docked off the coast of Southern California, waiting for available berths at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, which, collectively, handle 40% of the nation’s imports,” the motion said. “This vessel traffic jam has the potential to negatively impact air quality for local communities, further exacerbate supply chain disruptions, and tarnish the Port’s reputation with retailers and shippers.”