West Coast
The record topped a previous one set in February, as the pandemic continues to disrupt the trade and shipping industry

CA - Record-breaking 44 container ships are anchored off the coast of California

Normally the number of ships anchored outside the twin ports is between zero and one, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California. Additionally, August and September are peak periods for commerce from China, as businesses stock up ahead of the holidays. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where the ships are idled, account for a third of US imports from China

A recording-breaking 44 container ships are idling off the coast of Los Angeles and Long Beach as maritime trade is held up by labor shortages and Covid-19-related disruptions.

The number of ships anchored outside the ports exceeds the previous record of 40 set in February, and which had been matched twice last week according to the  Marine Exchange of Southern California, which tracks ship traffic in the area.

The average wait time for ships to enter the port now sits at 7.6 days, according to Port of Los Angeles data, up from 6.2 earlier in the month.

Normally, the number of container ships at anchor outside the twin ports is between zero and one, Kip Loutitt, executive director of the Marine Exchange told Business Insider.

The ports serve as the entry point for a third of imports to the US, and are the main import point for goods coming from China, the outlet reported.

The traffic jam comes as companies stock up throughout the months of August and September to prepare for the holidays.  

'Part of the problem is the ships are double or triple the size of the ships we were seeing 10 or 15 years ago,' Louttit said.

'They take longer to unload. You need more trucks, more trains, more warehouses to put the cargo.'

But the additional traffic comes as labor shortages are affecting inland transportation, such as trucking and railroads, meaning shipping containers are not being moved to distribution centers and warehouses quickly enough, Bloomberg reported.

Additionally, pandemic-related disruptions are causing long delays to shipping.

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