Source: American Shipper
Date: 1st June 2022
Ship queues down off Southern California, Virginia and Charleston.
It could be the relative calm before the peak-season, post-Shanghai-lockdown storm. Or it could be the final unwinding of COVID-era congestion as inflation takes hold. What happens next is still highly uncertain. But as of now, U.S. port queue numbers remain down from highs.
“This appears to be a much-needed respite for some ports that have seen significant delays over the course of the year to date,” said S&P Global Commodity Insights.
Congestion is easing in [some] areas. Importers should “take advantage of currently available space.
There were only 25 container ships waiting to berth in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Friday, according to data from the Marine Exchange of Southern California. That’s the lowest tally since July 28, 2021. As of Wednesday, there were 28 ships waiting. Current numbers are far below the all-time high of 109 ships waiting on Jan. 9.
The reduction in the Los Angeles/Long Beach ship queue is partially due to cargo being redirected to East Coast ports. Yet even East Coast ports are down from peaks.
In late February, ship-position data from MarineTraffic showed 70 container ships waiting offshore of East and Gulf Coast ports. By mid-May, the count had fallen to 45.
As of Wednesday, it had climbed back up to 58. Traffic jams off Virginia and Charleston, South Carolina, are down. The biggest queues now are off New York/New Jersey — 17 container ships — and Savannah, Georgia, where 25 vessels are waiting. Savannah’s numbers are the main driver of the recent East Coast uptick in recent days; Hapag-Lloyd reported only seven ships at anchor there on Friday.
A temporary reprieve?
Inbound arrivals could soon increase, according to Sea-Intelligence. If so, port congestion improvements are temporary.
Sea-Intelligence said that offered trans-Pacific capacity jumped 21% from 535,200 twenty-foot equivalent units for departures in the week of May 15-21 to 646,500 TEUs this week.
Ships departing overseas ports this week will arrive by the end of June. Last year, the queue numbers in Los Angeles/Long Beach fell through the third week of June, then reversed, heading back up thereafter.
Asia-West Coast freight rates appear to have stabilized at high levels, at least temporarily, after significant recent declines. The Drewry Shanghai-Los Angeles assessment was at $8,720 per forty-foot equivalent unit last week.