Ships bound for waiting California ports forced to sail: report
Waiting container ships stranded off the coast of Southern California awaiting their chance to enter the port have moved further out to sea due to safety concerns caused by poor winter weather conditions, footage shows satellite.
Only about 30 ships were in sight of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the country’s two largest ports, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, while more than 60 others were forced to sail in the middle of strong winds and rough seas.
Some are hundreds or even thousands of kilometers away, including ships from Asia that have reduced speed in anticipation of delays, The Journal said. The ships are complying with a voluntary system put in place by shipping officials last month ahead of bad winter weather that poses a safety hazard, the newspaper said.
Kip Louttit, executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California which oversees vessel movements in the area, told the Journal that “container ships are very large and blow a lot in the wind.”
“The numbers weren’t going down, so we had to find a way to allocate the ships,” he said.
Ships raced across the ocean before the new system was implemented to cross a 20 nautical mile line, or approximately 23 miles, from shore to secure a waiting list position in one of the port terminals, Jessica Alvarenga, spokesperson for the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, said the newspaper.
After ships have made their final departure for the United States, usually China, captains are given an estimated docking date and may slow down on approach. Jim McKenna, chief executive of the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents west coast terminal operators in collective bargaining, said the trip from Asia which took just 10 to 14 days can now take up to 22 days. to 24 days for some vessels.
Ships approaching California from Asia are urged to stay more than 150 miles from shore, while those from the north and south are urged to stay more than 50 miles from shore to avoid collisions.
According to The Journal, the two ports handled 7.7 million import containers between January and September, up 21% from the same months in 2019 before the pandemic.
Nahal Mogharabi, spokesperson for the South Coast Air Quality Management District, told the newspaper his agency estimates a 60% increase in smog emissions due to port activity.
Neighboring ports account for about a third of all U.S. imports, which has left millions of people anxious about supply chain issues ahead of the holiday shopping season. In October, as more than 100 ships floated out of ports, the White House announced that the Port of Los Angeles, UPS, FedEx and Walmart would be shifting to 24/7 working hours to mitigate the supply chain issues. However, the change had little effect due to the massive volume of imports.
The backlog has also led to an increase in container theft. According to the CargoNet Cargo Theft Prevention and Recovery Network, thieves stole more than $ 5 million in California-like cargo during the third quarter of 2021, an increase of about 42% from a year ago year.
Some retailers have even launched the idea of buying or leasing their own private fleet of freight vessels.