LOS ANGELES — The number of container ships waiting to enter the largest U.S. gateway for transpacific trade swelled to another pandemic record and the average wait jumped to more than eight days, adding delays and costs during peak season for companies to rebuild inventories.
Fifty-five vessels were anchored or idling further offshore waiting to offload at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, as of late Friday, up from 40 two weeks ago, according to officials who monitor marine traffic in San Pedro Bay. The average wait rose to 8.5 days compared with 7.6 in late August, according to L.A. port data.
L.A. officials have exhausted their designated anchorage space for overflow traffic and had a record 17 ships in so-called drift zones — areas used in times of extreme volume where they wait for room in shallower water to drop anchor safely.
The ships in queue have a combined capacity to carry nearly 375,000 20-foot containers, according to data compiled by the Marine Exchange of Southern California. That’s about the same amount of inbound boxes that the Los Angeles port handled in a month on average before the pandemic.
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