Los Angeles Port Congestion


Los Angeles port is the largest and busiest port in the Western Hemisphere, handling more than 9 million TEU containers each year. It is the 7th largest port in the World.

A record number of container ships have been waiting in the waters outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to unload cargo. The bottleneck results from a shortage of trucks and drivers to pick up goods and overwhelming demand for imported consumer products.

Skytek’s REACT records 1,632 blue water ships called at Los Angeles in 2020, which is 11.4% less than recorded in 2019, due to the pandemic’s impact on the global trade.

However, REACT shows that the time spent by container vessels alongside has nearly doubled in 2020, as stevedores were affected by a combination of Covid outbreaks and delays associated with testing procedures and quarantines.

Over the past two years, containerized cargo values within Los Angeles port have increased from $7 to $14.2 billion. The number of vessels in the port, including waiting grounds, increased by over 300% (from 25 to 108 containerships).

The figure below represents a typical snapshot of LA port in July 2020, showing containerships operating alongside and only one or two ships in the anchorage waiting less than a day to berth. Since then, the congestion has started to build.

2022 Update:

On November 16th 2021, the ships calling at Los Angeles were asked to drift 150Nm from the San Pedro bay, which made the number of ships decrease significantly from 112 ships on January 15th 2022 to 9 ships waiting at anchor in San Pedro bay.

The congestion is easing in the Port of Los Angeles with 21 ships waiting overall to berth and ships diverted from Los Angeles are currently building up congestion in ports on the East Coast, with Savanah recording the highest congestion in the North America with 36 ships waiting.


EO satellite imagery provided by:

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