Record Number of Ships at Long Beach as Offloading Slows: ‘Leadership Is the Missing Ingredient’

Closer view of ships at anchor off the coast of Long Beach, with downtown Long Beach in foreground, seen from Signal Hill, October 18, 2021 (Joel Pollak / Breitbart News)
Joel Pollak / Breitbart News

A record 79 ships were anchored off the Port of Long Beach as of Thursday, after the combined Long Beach-Los Angeles total surpassed 100 earlier this week — and as the pace of offloading ships slowed down, rather than accelerating.

Seatrade Maritime News reported on Thursday:

According to the Marine Exchange of Southern California the number of containerships at anchor or in holding areas for the two ports was 79 on 21 October was 79, while 29 vessels were at berth. This is an increase of eight vessels waiting in San Pedro Bay since Wednesday, a day earlier, while the number being worked on in ports dropped by four.

The Marine Exchange had said on Monday that it expected it elevated and record levels of vessels in port, with vessels with in [sic] 40 miles of the LA/LB port complex considered to be “in port”.

Overall, on Thursday there were 169 ships in port with 109 at anchor either in designated anchorages or holding areas used once the anchorages are full up. A total of 55 vessels were in holding areas including 44 containerships, as well as three tankers and eight bulkers.

The report added that the normal number of ships at anchor was 17.

The Biden administration has repeatedly claimed that it is making progress in clearing the port backlog, despite Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg being on paternity leave for two months. Last week, President Joe Biden announced that the Los Angeles-area ports were moving to a 24/7 work schedule to help relieve the congestion, which has caused a nationwide supply chain crisis.

However, as Breitbart News’ John Carney reported, the 24/7 policy meant nothing because few truckers showed up for the 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. shift at the Port of Los Angeles to collect cargo.

Ryan Petersen, CEO of Flexport, a customs brokerage in San Francisco dealing with the shipping industry, warned: “The ports shutting down is worse than Lehman Brothers failing. Both can lead to catastrophic failures of all counter parties depending on them. But with Lehman the government could just print tons of money to flood the banks with liquidity. Here we need real world solutions.” He warned that the ports were so full of containers that they could not offload further ships.

Petersen offered a long list of suggestions to relieve the congestion. He concluded: “Leadership is the missing ingredient.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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