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Container ship queue at Los Angeles/Long Beach grows to record 60 vessels

The queue of container ships waiting to berth at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex grew to a record 60 vessels as the ports remain inundated with import volumes during peak shipping season.

There were 41 ships at anchor in the San Pedro Bay Sept. 15 while another 19 ships were stationary in the nearby drifting zone, according to cFlow, Platts trade flow software.
The vessel queue has swelled well beyond the 40 ships from the last import surge in February as the August-November peak season for restocking ahead of year-end holidays got underway.

The average waiting time in anchorage to berth at the Port of Los Angeles was at 8.5 days, while the dwell time for an unloaded container at the terminal was six days on average, the port authority said.

Total throughput at the Port of Los Angeles dipped 0.8% to 954,377 twenty-foot-equivalent units in August, the port authority said Sept. 15. The port forecast that total volumes handled would ease to around 930,000 TEUs in September before growing again to 950,000 in October, indicating that there would be no significant slowdown in activity at the port in the months ahead.

Total container imports at the Port of Los Angeles were 488,874 TEUs in August, down 5.4% from the same month last year. Total container exports were 465,504 TEUs in August, but 78% of those were empty containers being repositioned in Asia for another round of imports.

Strong demand for space on ships for exports from Asia to the US lifted Platts Container Rate 13 — North Asia to West Coast North America — to $9,000/FEU Sept. 15, an 137% jump from the year-ago date.
Source: Platts

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