Fewer ships anchoring at Ports of LA, Long Beach mere counting trick

Fewer ships anchoring at Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach mere counting trick

Fewer ships anchoring at Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach mere counting trick

A new queueing system is responsible for the false sense of ease after a significant drop in the number of ships at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in the U.S. was reported.

On Nov. 16, there were 86 ships in San Pedro Bay. But by Nov. 22, there were just 60, a 30 percent drop, according to Quartz.

Ships used to be counted as being “at port” when they were within 40 miles of the adjacent ports of LA and Long Beach and got their place in line on a first come-first served basis.

But on Nov. 15, the Marine Exchange of Southern California, an organization that monitors ship arrivals at southern California ports, issued a new queueing system that allowed ships to secure a spot to pull into berth before entering the 40-mile zone.

To reduce the amount of pollution being pumped into the neighborhoods near the port, ships were then asked to loiter beyond the horizon, 150 miles from the port.

For some ships, this meant dropping anchor 151 miles away or waiting it out even further afield. Some simply moved slowly across the Pacific, or waited in the waters off Mexico or Taiwan, according to American Shipper.

The ship congestion in San Pedro Bay looked to have eased, but in fact, was hitting some of its highest numbers.

On Dec. 5, there were 96 ships waiting to enter the ports of LA and Long Beach, 56 of them outside the 40-mile zone. An additional 31 ships were docked and in the process of being unloaded, bringing the tally up to 127.

On Dec. 5, the Marine Exchange of Southern California decided to update its counting methodology to include ships outside the 40-mile zone,


Photo: Quartz

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