Following significant congestion at US ports having continuously worsened over the last 6 months, with the driver shortage and the spread of COVID-19 as well as COVID-secure regulations playing their part in creating a considerable bottleneck further compounded by severe weather events throughout September, LA port, along with the port of Long Beach are to operate 24 hours a day to clear some of the backlog.
LA port and Long Beach are the largest ports in the USA handling 40% of all cargo containers entering the USA and in late September had a record 73 ships with approximately 500,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) at anchor awaiting berth, a higher amount of containers than the Port of Long Beach handled through all of August. This resulted in a shortage of goods such as children's toys, clothes, construction materials and pet food in the USA and elsewhere, as well as an increase in consumer prices.
This latest move to ease congestion is supported by courier companies and large retailers with port operations, having all agreed to increase their night time operations in an effort to help ease congestion and facilitate the distribution of goods in the run up to Christmas. It will likely take some time to work through the backlog, with new ships arriving daily, and some shortage of goods is expected to last until after the holiday season as a result.
US port congestion - through the months:
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