West Coast Port Congestion

While ongoing port congestion has been seen all over the U.S. for the last 6 months, the West Coast, the busiest U.S gateway for trade with Asia, has been impacted particularly hard with an unprecedented influx of ocean freight and record-breaking wait queues. There have been many contributing factors about what led to six straight months of container ships at anchor awaiting berths at the Los Angeles and neighboring Long Beach port, the COVID-19 pandemic is the driving factor. The wholesale shift in spending by home-bound consumers from entertainment to home improvement has overwhelmed the capacity of the end-to-end system. Containers have been unable to be quickly offloaded and moved through terminals and then unloaded at jam-packed distribution centers, which has slowed down repositioning of containers back to Asia, reducing the capacity of the entire system.

At this time last year, the average number of container ships anchored in San Pedro Bay, waiting for entry into Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports for offload, typically ranged from 0 – 2 container ships. During the past 6 months, there has been an average of 29 container ships waiting in the San Pedro Bay, with the peak seen in February of 40 container ships anchored waiting entry for offload. The month of May has averaged 20 shipments anchored, which averages about a 7 day wait to get into the ports.

With the U.S. economy currently forecast to grow by 6.2 percent this year and the looming holiday retail peak season bump, which runs from mid-August to mid-October, several more months of port congestion is anticipated. If you have a household goods shipment coming into the U.S. from Korea or Japan, it is most likely your shipment will be traveling into the US through one of the West Coast ports. Please allow for an additional 8 – 10 business days for your shipment to clear through the port and customs process to be made available for further movement to your final destination. To get real-time updates on your shipment, please visit our tracking website. If you have any questions about the status of your shipment, our Customer Support Center is available to answer your questions Monday – Saturday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST. thru live chat or phone.