- On April 16, 21 ships were anchored off the coast of California, waiting to be berthed.
- Photos show the Port of Long Beach and Los Angeles backlogged with these container ships.
- This congestion is just one part of the global supply-chain crisis that’s been impacting companies and consumers.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
This sight is nothing new for locals: views of the ocean from coastal Southern Californian cities have been obstructed by this long line of container ships for a few months now.
About one-third of the country’s imports – primarily from China – pass through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
But for the last several months, these side-by-side ports have been jammed, further fueling the global supply-chain crisis.
The almost two dozen ships stuck off the coast of Southern California are a glaring sight to see.
The cluster can be seen from almost every vantage point near the two ports, including neighborhoods …
… viewpoints …
… popular local hotspots …
… and piers.
The ports typically see up to one container ship at anchor, if that, Kip Louttit, executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, told Insider’s Grace Kay.
However, the Southern Californian ports have been seeing well over just one anchored container ship.
On February 1, a whopping 40 container ships were stuck off the coast of California.
A month later on March 1, the Marine Exchange reported 30 anchored ships yet to be berthed.
Last month was also the Port of Los Angeles’ “strongest” March in its 114 years of operation, according to a news release from the port.
Source: Port of Los Angeles
Some of these container ships have been stuck off the Golden State’s coast for several weeks now …
… hanging onto a wide variety of imports, from furniture to clothes to plastics.
Source: Port of Los Angeles
It doesn’t help that half of the ships are considered “mega-container ships,” or ships that can hold 10,000 “Twenty-foot Equivalent Units” (TEUs).
The size of these boats – which are two to three times the size of ships from over a decade ago – are also a contributing factor to this backlog as they use more resources and manpower to unload, according to Louttit.
Another contributing factor to this delay is, unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As more Americans get vaccinated, businesses reopen and the economy strengthens, consumers continue to purchase goods at a dizzying pace,” Gene Seroka, the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, said in a news release.
This has caused the number of imports to increase, adding more ships to the congested waters.
This congestion may be unique to California waters, but consumers around the US could soon begin seeing the consequences of this backlog.
This problem is more than just a temporary depletion of imported goods and a blocked view of the Pacific Ocean.
There’s also a massive shortage of shipping containers, which has already been contributing to the global supply chain and shipping delay issues.
Companies like Costco, La-Z-Boy, and Nike have already been affected by these global problems, and have reported issues like inventory shortages and delayed product deliveries.
This means consumers around the US could begin seeing increased prices, decreased product offerings, and longer delivery times.