By day – The congestion of US ships stretching far into the Pacific is longer than ever

WASHINGTON – The number of container ships bound for America’s busiest port complex has risen to nearly 100 under a new counting method, underscoring the extent of the economic stalemate the Biden administration is trying to alleviate.

The backup outside the adjacent ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif. Involves 96 container ships, up from 86 on November 16, when a new queuing system went into effect and dozens of ships on arrival remained outside the official area to be counted, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California. The revised measure released Friday night includes eastbound ships further into the Pacific.

Just when it looked like the bottleneck was dissipating – the previous official tally was 41 ships in the queue on Thursday – the latest figures confirm that the most visible symbol of overwhelmed US supply chains – United is still probably months away from being eliminated. The average ship wait was 20.8 days on Friday, almost a week longer than a month ago, according to LA’s Wabtec Port Optimizer.

The revised way of counting ships bound for LA-Long Beach divides them into two categories: 40 ships that are either anchored in designated locations plus those that “roam” within 40 miles of ports, and 56 others in the outside that perimeter, many of them who slowed down on the journey from Asia which usually takes at least two weeks. The line therefore lengthened both in number of ships and in distance.

There is little relief in sight. U.S. importers typically reserve January orders well in advance to restock inventory before Chinese factories and ports downsize during the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins next year in early February.

The White House has focused its attention on working with the logistics industry to move empty and full containers that have piled up near port terminals, encouraging longer hours for truckers and longshoremen, and supporting incentives for the timely pick-up of goods lingering for days or weeks.

This effort to reduce so-called container dwell times in Southern California has had mixed results, with the number of boxes waiting zero to eight days dropping to 33,520 as of December 2, from 39,671 a week longer. early, according to numbers from the Port of LA. . Still, the number of waits nine days or more rose to 21,278, from 18,170 a week earlier.

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