North America Shipping Update

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North America Shipping Update

Shipping Overview

Currently, there are 43 container vessels at anchor outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. This causes a slowdown in the circulation of ships, containers, and chassis, which in turn causes spot rates to reach record levels.

When vessels are anchored off shore, they miss other scheduled departure dates, causing additional canceled sailings. Many factors contribute to the supply chain bottlenecks including port congestion, intermodal delays, and longer container dwell times.

We are often asked by shippers when the congestion will end. When we look at the persistent capacity constraints, continued stimulus spending, upcoming West Coast labor negotiations (existing collective bargaining agreement will expire at the end of June), and the impacts of Hurricane Ida, we do not anticipate an ease in congestion until the middle to end of 2022.

Alan Murphy, CEO of Sea-Intelligence Maritime Analysis, stated “that some 20–25 percent of container capacity on Transpacific is lost to the congestion/delays, while the figure is 12–13 percent for Asia–Europe, while approximately 10 percent of the global fleet is absorbed by congestion/delays.”

The rate levels of the container shipping market are dictated by supply and demand. The reduction in capacity due to a slowdown in asset circulation (vessels at berth, longer container dwell times, etc.) causes rates levels to increase.

The Port of Boston has been working in recent years to handle big-ships. Three taller cranes are expected to be commissioned in late September. The Port of Boston has not returned to its pre-pandemic volumes, but is expecting to grow when all the improvements are completed.

Boston currently is served by two weekly container services — one by Geneva-based MSC from North Europe, and another linking Asia via the Ocean Alliance, a carrier partnership of Evergreen, Cosco, CMA CGM and OOCL.

Port Situations

Los Angeles:

  • 19 container vessels at berth
  • 22 container vessels at anchorage waiting for a berth
  • 8.1 days average at anchor
  • Long Beach:

  • 12 container vessels at berth
  • 21 container vessels at anchorage waiting for a berth
  • 6.6 days average at anchor