The Port of Los Angeles and cargo shipping lines that use the port have started to divert some ships to other Pacific Coast ports further north. A surge in imports, Covid-19 restrictions and staff shortages have strained the capacity at POLA beyond its maximum.
Hapag Lloyd and CMA CGM had already announced that they would be diverting some sailings to Oakland, Northern California and other West Coast ports. The Port of Los Angeles and the adjacent Port of Long Beach have been facing record waiting times, with 62 ships anchored in San Pedro Bay, with an average wait of eight days to enter the Southern California port complex. Of those vessels, 20 were container ships bound for the Port of Los Angeles.
Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, said on Wednesday February 17th that “if we stopped all shipments right now, we still have about a month’s worth of work from those ships at anchor. We need to really catch our breath”.
Total volume at the Port of Los Angeles was 835,516 teus in January, up 3.6% year on year. Loaded imports, which accounted for more than half of shipments, were up by 5.5% yoy. Loaded exports fell by 19.5%.