Ports of LA/Long Beach Experiencing Congestion

The ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach are experiencing severe congestion and are experiencing major delays.  To add to the frustration, the ports also have a shortage of equipment.  This unfortunately is having a negative impact not only on the ports, but also on the U.S. rail and intermodal nationwide. 

The latest information shows a dozen vessels currently at anchor waiting berth space.  Thousands of containers are being held at the terminals.  Containers are also backed up at the rail pending transportation to the port for export.

Congestion has mainly been caused by the prioritization of ultra-large container ships (ULCSs) which have capacities between 10,000 and 25,000 TEU, delays shipments by smaller container ships carrying capacities of less than 10,000 TEU. 

According to an article on JOC.com by Wayne Talley, the large number of TEU unloaded from (and loaded to) ULCSs at container ports and the mere sizes of ULCSs that call container ports can result in port congestion. Container port congestion occurs when containers (vehicles and ships) interfere with one another in the use of the port’s container (vehicle and ship) services to the extent that the waiting times for containers (vehicles and ships) to use these services increase.