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41 boxships waiting at LA/Long Beach, freight rates keep rising

Photo: Courtesy of the Port of Los Angeles San Pedro Bay Aerial shot
San Pedro Bay
The number of containerships waiting at the ports of Los Angeles (LA) and Long Beach (LB) has hit 41 as freight rates continue to rise.

The number of ships at anchor in San Pedro Bay waiting to berth at the ports of LA and LB has surpassed its previous February high of 40, with some 41 vessels now queued, according to project44. A further 33 containerships are berthed at the two ports for handling.

The latest surge in vessels waiting at the southern Californian ports is attributed to shippers acting early to try and beat congestion later into the peak season.

“Industry experts attribute the latest surge to proactive shippers, who are bolstering their inventories in preparation for the holiday season. However, processing the influx of containers across west coast ports is running up against capacity issues facing North American rail and road carriers, as inland congestions tacks on additional delays,” project44 said.

In some good news it said that the average weekly dwell times at LA and LB have dropped by nearly three days last week suggesting a strong rally to handle the influx of cargo.

However, the efforts of the ports to clear containers quicker may not be enough. ‘While port infrastructure and personnel are performing admirably under the circumstances, the capacity/volume mismatch between maritime ports and overland transport could get worse in the weeks and months ahead, setting the stage for another breaking point in supply chains,” the analyst warned.

As congestion continues to rise in the US West Coast ports combined with incidents such as the two-week closure of the Meishan Island International Container Terminal (MSICT) at Ningbo-Zhoushan port due to a Covid case, container freight rates have continued to rise from already record levels.

Drewry reported that it’s composite World Container Index increased by 2.1% or $204 over the last week to reach $9,817.72 per feu container, 351% higher than the same week in 2020, and the 19th consecutive week of increases.

For the Shanghai to Los Angeles trade there was a 4% increase last week, or $393, to $11,362 per feu. Freight rates on Shanghai to Rotterdam gained $89 to reach $13,787 per feu.

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