Wait times at U.S.’s busiest ports around 7 days
If you’re waiting on a package and your purchase is coming from overseas, odds are your order is stuck on a container ship off the Southern California coast. There were a record 44 of them awaiting entry to the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach as of Saturday, topping the previous mark of 40 set over the winter.
That’s nearly five times the amount of container ships that would be awaiting berth in pre-COVID times, and waiting times average around seven days. The delays stem from another wave of COVID in Asia and the U.S., a labor shortage, and holiday shopping.
“To give you a real-life example of the kinds of challenges we’re seeing, one of our dedicated charters was recently denied entry into China because a crew member tested positive for COVID, forcing the vessel to return to Indonesia and change the entire crew before continuing,” Dollar Tree’s CEO Michael Witynski said on an earnings call, as reported by Business Insider. “Overall, the voyage was delayed by two months.”
Shipping times from Shanghai to Chicago are now more than 70 days, more than twice their pre-pandemic average. In markets that have grown accustomed to next-day delivery and just in time supply chains, people are having to learn patience and to live with more inconveniences.
Those packages will still arrive safe and sound, the Marine Exchange of Southern California wants to assure everyone.
“Despite record levels of ships in port and at anchor and in drift areas, the Marine Transportation System in LA and LB remains safe, secure, reliable, and environmentally sound, while not being as efficient as it should be due to COVID protocols in these uncertain and unsettled times, and record levels of cargo,” the exchange wrote on Facebook.
About a third of all goods coming into the U.S. enter on container ships to the two ports.