The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California are currently awaiting 44 container ships to dock at their berths due to port congestion and lack of export equipment.
According to media reports, this number exceeds an all-time high of 40 units seen during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Authorities point to various reasons for this occurrence. Gene Seroka, executive director of Port of Los Angeles, told the media that government funding has been lopsided by 1:11 for the West and East Coast of the US, respectively, in the past year. That said, the West Coast accounts for one-third of all imports into the US. The lack of funding has caused delays in equipment modernization, which in turn has slowed productivity at these ports.
COVID-19 testing of onboard staff has also contributed to port congestion, which in some cases has also led to ships being re-directed to their port of origin. This has affected transit periods by a month or more. Also, the cost of ocean freight has been rising consistently through 2021 and has now reached all-time highs.
Many scrap exporters and importers have reported vessel delays in the past month and say that some of the orders have been canceled due to unexpected hold up in delivery dates.