New ship queue system aims to cut congestion, pollution at California ports
A new queuing system will soon require cargo vessels that arrive early to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to anchor and wait much further of the California coast.
Vessels will have to wait 150 miles off the California coast — rather than hugging the coastline in a large group packed within a 40-mile perimeter — in an effort to reduce ship congestion and the pollution idling ships produce.
The effort, supporters said, will “dramatically reduce the number of backlogged ships at anchorage” off the two ports as the nation deals with an unprecedented supply-chain bottleneck.
But it could take four to six weeks to get down to the current desired levels of vessels at anchor, estimated to be from 25 to 35 vessels, according to an executive summary of the new process.
The change was announced on Thursday, Nov. 11. The new system was developed and will be implemented by the Pacific Maritime Association, the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association and the Marine Exchange of Southern California, with input from member shipping companies. The twin ports signed off on the change.
hips will be assigned a space in the queue based on when they left their last port of call, allowing them to slow-steam and spread out rather than crowd into congested waters close to shore.
The system is scheduled to take effect on Tuesday, Nov. 16. The new process will not apply to ships currently in the arrival queue.
“Today’s announcement will improve air quality and improve maritime safety on the Southern California coastline,” Port of Los Angeles spokesman Phillip Sanfield said in a written statement.
“We’re grateful to the Marine Exchange of Southern California, Pacific Merchant Shipping Association and Pacific Maritime Association for leading the efforts to optimize ship calls in the San Pedro Bay port complex.”