Port officials are proclaiming the situation “the new normal”.
Despite claims that the cargo ship crisis has been resolved, the number of vessels stationed off of the Los Angeles coast is still at an all-time high.
On Tuesday, November 30, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka announced that there were 46 boats stationed off the shores of California’s Long Beach and Los Angeles ports – a marked drop or more than 100 earlier in the month.
However, according to data provided by ship-tracking website MarineTraffic, there are currently nearly 100 cargo ships waiting to dock at the two popular ports – which have seen unprecedented bottlenecks during the US’ current supply chain crisis.
What’s more, many of these ships have been sitting in the Pacific since October, data shows, leaving hundreds of sailors stranded at sea as they wait to be allowed on dry land.
The problem with the claim is that it is based on massaging the numbers through a rule that forces boats to wait further offshore…so they remain uncounted per the old rules.
There were 40 container ships waiting for berths within 40 miles of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Friday. But there were also 56 container ships waiting farther out to sea, putting the actual tally at an all-time-high of 96, according to new data from the Marine Exchange of Southern California.
The Marine Exchange has just unveiled its new methodology for counting container ships waiting outside the 40-mile “in port” zone.
A new queuing system has been in place since mid-November that encourages container ships to wait outside of a specially designated Safety and Air Quality Area (SAQA) that extends 150 miles to the west of the ports and 50 miles to the north and south.
This has sharply reduced the number of ships closer to shore, leading to suggestions that efforts to tackle port congestion are cutting into the offshore queue — a misconception that should be dispelled by the Marine Exchange’s new counting method.
In addition to the 96 ships waiting offshore on Friday, there were 31 container ships at terminal berths, bringing the grand total to 127, at or near an all-time high.
Clearly, changing definitions to quickly resolve problems or promote a narrative is a hallmark of the Biden administration. In fact, port officials are proclaiming the situation “the new normal”.
Frank Buckley talks with Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero about the volume at the San Pedro Bay ports complex and why the backlog of cargo ships and containers should come as no surprise.
“It is the new normal,” Cordero said.
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