East Coast port congestion now worse than West Coast
After several months of severe congestion at key ports on the U.S. West Coast, the issues have now shifted to the other side of the country.
As of April 7 there were 15 containers vessels carrying a total of 95,000 TEU at anchor, waiting to enter California's Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, website Port Technology reports.
At the same time, 18 ships are waiting off port limits to berth at the Port of Charleston in South Carolina, and 12 are outside the Port of Norfolk in Virginia. These vessels are carrying a combined total of 209,000 TEU.
Shipping expert Lars Jensen previously noted that vessel queues outside Charleston were rising, as 31 vessels were waiting to berth at the port on Feb. 25.
“As can be seen on vessel finder there are also large queues of vessels outside the other major US East and Gulf Coast ports. It thus appears that part of the reason for the improvement in California is not that the supply chain problem is being resolved – the problem is merely being shifted elsewhere,” Jensen said in a social media post.
According to Maritime Executive, analysts point out that vessels began turning to the U.S. East Coast ports as early as last summer as the waits grew at the Pacific Coast ports.
Ports on both coasts experienced similar problems with labor shortages and trucking delays due to workers reporting in sick during the pandemic. Similarly, they all faced a lack of space especially with empties piling up to return to the factories in Asia.