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USA - congestion hits new highs

Increased strain on the United States’ supply chain industry is continuing to cause significant disruption, with West Coast ports nearing record numbers of congestion and the East Coast following suit.

A surge in COVID-19 cases resulting in staff shortages, increased congestion along the California coast, and a continued lack of equipment, are all contributing factors to the supply chain issues across the US, with the SoCal ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach bearing the brunt.

(Port of Los Angeles, 18th Aug 2021, Source: Port of Los Angeles, California Live Ship / Marine Traffic

A record high for all types of ships at berth or anchor in the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports was hit during August 2021 with 125 ships, beating the 1st quarter high of 113. With the addition of new trans-Pacific routes, these numbers are likely to continue to rise in the near future.

To put it into context, among the world’s 22 busiest ports recently surveyed, it was found that Los Angeles and Long Beach are in fact more congested than China’s Ningbo and Shanghai port - with Asia’s congestion still being at a significant level itself (read more here

This is also an issue spanning America’s East Coast with a growing offshore queue forming as summer vacations coupled with high temperatures and an increase in COVID-19 cases impact labor availability, yard turn times and productivity across New York and New Jersey ports.

With a large volume of import cargo, chassis issues are a key player in the East Coast’s port problem and look to continue to be so in the near future.

Simultaneously, weather problems in Georgia are also exacerbating the congestion situation, with the port of Savannah affected by closure to the Savannah River, leading to anchorage numbers climbing well into double figures.

The lack of labor and equipment across the industry is continuing to slow down operations as a result of the worsening shortage of space, containers, chassis and drivers. The recent surge in COVID-19 cases, which has seen a 133% rise in positive daily cases over a 6 week period, is affecting workforce availability across the USA significantly, further adding to mounting pressures.

As a result of the growing strain on the industry, your shipment may be subject to increased delivery time, in addition to costs for container rent, storage, demurrage, and chassis fees. Any new quotation provided will be based on pricing provided at the time, although this may be subject to change at the time of shipping. Quotations will be subject to availability during this busy time.

We will continue to do all we can to limit the impact this has on our customers and their clients.

For more information or to contact our expert teams to discuss how to minimise the impact on you and your clients, please reach out to us here

For more supply chain insights across the USA and beyond, read up on recent relevant articles here:

USA - delays and surcharges as pressures increase

Shipping FAQ - What's going on in the supply chain industry?


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