The port congestion at LA port has worsened and is currently at a record high of approximately 100 ships sitting at the horizon forming a line of vessels. On average there would typically be about 17 ships at anchor during pre-pandemic times, however, the recent rise in port congestion caused due to covid-19 has hit the ports at record high waiting times. The situation is about to worsen since approx. 45 more ships are scheduled to arrive at the port by end of this week.
US cargo ports continue to see strong revenue performance as a result of sustained congestion and record volume, Fitch Ratings says. However, maintaining operational efficiency is an increasing challenge as bottlenecks have not yet been resolved due to disrupted supply chains, mismatched rolling stock, capacity-strained logistics networks, and ongoing labor shortages. Ports are now expected to see congestion pressures persist through the holiday season, with throughput patterns not expected to normalize until early 2022.
POLA recently announced it would move to 24/7 operations, as POLB did in September. Round-the-clock operations may help shift additional containers off ships, though ports are only the first stop along the way for imports, which make up the vast majority of cargo handled at West Coast ports. Sticking points remain in the form of warehouse capacity and trucking availability to move goods from the ports, particularly when expanded hours at ports do not match warehouses’ and distribution centers’ operating hours.
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