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Bottlenecks Extend to Multiple Ports Within the U.S.

Bottlenecks along the busiest ports of the West Coast are expanding to the Eastern side of the country, including South Carolina, New York and Georgia, according to news reports.

The twin ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles handle about 40% of the U.S.'s inbound containers; and after receiving record amounts of imports in 2021, delays continue to persist, per The Economic Times. Over the past year, imports at these ports have increased by 14.6% from 2020, and exports decreased by 2.6%, according to the news reports.

Backups are starting to pop up elsewhere around the U.S. On Thursday, the Port of Oakland reported 15 ships waiting to dock, according to the Wall Street Journal. These delays have made their way to the East with authorities at the Port of Charleston saying they are experiencing the worst backup of goods in decades, WCSC reports.

In Savannah, GA, the Georgia Port Authority (GPA) recently detailed a plan to expedite the completion of 1.6-million 20-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) in annual capacity that will come online by June 2022 as part of its long-term Peak Capacity Project, according to Savannah Morning News. The GPA board also approved a $24.4 million purchase of nine electric-rubber-tired gantry cranes to help support the expansion of port capacity.

The ports of New York and New Jersey also have endured their share of recent backups. The average wait time for container anchorage rose to 4.75 days during the final week of 2021, compared to 1.6 days for the entire year, according to Bloomberg.

Rates for ocean cargo also have continued to rise. In fact, base spot rates to ship a 40-foot container from the Far East to U.S. ports reached their highest levels of the pandemic this month, per Xeneta's weekly rate update last week. Rates to ship to the East coast is about $12,000, up $3,000 from two years ago; and for the West Coast, it's about $8,500, a 467% increase from January 2020.

Bryan Mason, editorial associate
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Wednesday, 21 February 2024

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