Just a quick peek at the ports of Los Angeles & Long Beach and how that whole Logistics FUBAR is working out (given that about 2 weeks from now drivers to Canada will be mandated the Vexxine and that’s likely to put a big FUBAR in Canada / US logistics as well…)
Weekly Vessels Anchored and at Terminals as of 1/3/2022
LA & LB: Anchored 23 (NM)* | Terminal 27 | Loitering/Steaming 77 (NM)**
Oakland: Anchored 5 | Terminal 8 | Drifting/Loitering 1
NWSA: Anchored 1 | Terminal 8 | Drifting 2
So 23 are Anchored out in the California expensive special Diesel mandated zone. 27 are actually in the terminal being unloaded / loaded.
Then there’s that 77 of them loitering, drifting, or just steaming around outside of the anchorage. (Plus God Only Knows how many have decided to cross the ocean on Dead Slow to save a bit of fuel costs, or diverted to other ports, or just not taking on cargo destined to LB or LA.) I make that about 127 in / near California (and more out to sea or loading in China?).
Vessel Congestion Update
On December 25, 2021, the Southern California Marine Exchange reported 97 total ships in the twin ports of Los Angeles (LA) and Long Beach (LB). Of the vessels, 49 are container ships including 23 at anchor or loitering and 26 at berth. The specific number of container vessels that normally loiter or are anchored outside the 150-mile safety air emissions exclusion zone, referred to as SAQA (Safety & Air Quality Area), was not released by the Marine Exchange. On December 27, 2021, the Port of LA Operations Report indicated 100 container vessels with 23 container vessels (LA 5 & LB 18) anchored within the 40 mile (NM) in-port area and 77 (LA 38 & LB 39) loitering/steaming toward the San Pedro Bay. Container vessels are waiting for an average of 20 to 27.3 days to reach a terminal to unload their containers.
Note: Nautical Mile (NM) *Within 40 NM and **Outside 150 NM
Loitering = Container vessels slow speed steaming and not at anchor
All the threatened “penalty for containers that sit on the dock too long” has done is have more ships holding off unloading, near as I can tell. The “backup” is being pushed more toward the At Sea and China side.
Maybe this will let the port get the inventory of containers down to where they can more efficiently load them on trucks, but it still doesn’t fix the shortage of trucks caused by the mandate by the State that only “2010 or newer” engines are allowed into the State.
I think this is going to continue for at least another 1/2 year.
Looks like they figured out they can use Other Land to place containers.
Additional container storage has been authorized by the City of Carson, a neighboring city to the twin ports. As the congestion continues at the ports of LA and LB, an agreement was struck and is part of the ongoing effort to reduce the number of containers lingering at terminal yards. The deal will now allow a shipping company to store containers on 60 acres at the Marathon Petroleum Refinery. Carson officials authorized the land usage for the temporary storage of the neighboring twin ports excess containers, to aid in reducing on dock containers stuck at the ports, a problem that stems from the cargo surge that began last year and shows little signs of letting up. The usage includes cargo containers and trucks but may not be stacked. The shipping company will pay Carson $1 million annually in fees in exchange for total access to the Marathon area during a two-year period.
60 acres. $1 Million / year. $16,666 / year / acre. $1389 / month /acre. For bare dirt.
You would think someone might figure out that there’s a Whole Lot Of Empty Dirt in the Mojave just a very short drive away… Set up a relay of Short Haul Trucks taking containers across the L.A. Basin between 10 PM and 5 AM when roads are reasonably open.
Note they expect to need this for 2 years.
They do note that folks are adapting where they ship to, but also note bad weather at sea is causing some changes on the fly, especially in the Atlantic:
Winter Weather Leads to Unpredictability of Vessel Calls
Due to harsh weather, North Atlantic Seas has transatlantic carriers omitting ports of call, on an ad-hoc basis, to recover schedules. As adverse weather conditions continue with little let-up, carriers are making temporary network adjustments. Northern Europe to U.S. east coast routes are omitting ports of call at some of the east and Gulf coasts as part of their winter plan.
As carriers had shifted from the severely congested U.S. west coast ports to east and Gulf coast port terminals, it has also created additional berthing delays and last-minute call omissions. Despite the weather delays affecting vessel operations, the U.S. east coast ports are experiencing impressive volume growth, which has also resulted in some docking and landside congestion delays.
Data from Blue Alpha Capital suggests that, in November 2021, the imports at the ten largest U.S. container ports recorded a shift away from the west coast ports redirected to the east as shippers from Asia redirected containers to avoid prolonged delays on products shipped to LA and LB ports. The data indicates a west coast decline of 7.5% while the east coast experienced a 9.9% growth of container imports.
So coming to the East Real Soon Now, congestion caused by Stupid California Rules. Enjoy… /snark;
The Port of New York/New Jersey experienced a 3.2% increase in November 2021, overtaking the Port of Long Beach statistically for the month, and becoming the second-busiest U.S. container port. The port of LA reported 403,569 TEU while NY/NJ reported 395,36 TEU. High berth and terminal utilization are expected to continue through the holiday and into the first quarter of 2022. While at the twin ports of LA/LB, the congestion is projected to last well into the first six months of 2022.
Or maybe for the 2 years they have rented the extra dirt?…
Note, too, that shifting to East Coast ports from Asia will mean more congestion at the Panama Canal, around the Capes, or in the Suez Canal if crossing via Europe.
A FUBAR in any one of the 10 or so giant ports ripples back through all the other parts of it. The hope is that they can share out the ripple enough it stays a ripple. The fear is that it will cause a cascade failure as other parts become congested and enter a lower productivity mode.
But neither hope nor fear is a strategy… So we’ll get to watch this play out for the next 6 months to 2 years and see what happens next.
Do note that folks who shifted to Canadian West Coast ports with trucks to bring the containers down to the lower 48 are about to be hit by a trucker shortage to cross the border due to Vaccine Mandates and Vexxine Passports for truckers starting in a week or 2. So that potential work around will slam shut too.