Over $40 Billion Worth Of Cargo Is Still Sitting Offshore


Only 36% of waiting ships are off the West Coast, while 64% are off the East and Gulf coasts as reported by American Shipper.

Lining in anchorages 

Container ships are still lining up in the anchorages off the East and Gulf Coast ports, where they are now significantly longer than those off the West Coast. There are still a lot of waiting container ships along all three coasts combined.

According to a study of ship-tracking information from MarineTraffic and queue counts from California, there were 125 container ships waiting off North American ports on Friday morning.

This is up 36% from 92 ships a month ago but down 16% from 150 waiting ships in January when West Coast congestion peaked.

Estimates of cargo

Over the past year, the shipping line off Los Angeles/Long Beach has drawn the most attention, yet as of Friday, only 36% of the waiting ships were off West Coast ports, with 64% off the East and Gulf Coast ports. The longest ship waiting list in North America is now at Savannah, Georgia.

On Friday, container ships near the coasts of the United States and British Columbia had a total carrying capacity of 1,037,164 twenty-foot equivalent units.

What kind of cargo value is contained in all those boxes? Back-of-the-envelope calculations show that the estimated value of cargo waiting offshore on Friday was more than $40 billion. These calculations assume 90% utilisation (some estimates are higher) and an average cargo value per import TEU of $43,899 (the average value of cargo imported by Los Angeles in 2020, likely conservative given inflation).

East/Gulf Coast queues

According to MarineTraffic data as of Friday morning, there were 36 container ships waiting for berths in Savannah offshore of Tybee Island, Georgia. The ships could carry 343,085 TEUs in total (average ship size: 9,350 TEUs).

The growth in inbound volumes to Savannah from the index date (January 2019) is much higher than the national average, according to a FreightWaves-exclusive SONAR index of bookings data.

According to a Hapag-Lloyd operating update this week, the waiting period for a berth in Savannah is currently between 10 and 12 days. The carrier estimated Savannah’s yard used to be 89%.

Off New York/New Jersey, the second-longest East Coast line is present. There were 20 vessels waiting on Friday morning, with a combined capacity of 180,908 TEUs (average size: 9,045 TEUs). According to Hapag-Lloyd, the wait for berths in New York/New Jersey might go up to 20 days, depending on the port. According to Hapag-Lloyd, yard usage was 92% at Maher, 75% at GCT Bayonne, and 72% at APM Terminals.

A total of 20 ships with a combined capacity of 121,196 TEUs were waiting off Houston on the Gulf Coast (average size: 6,060 TEUs). Utilization at the Barbours Cut terminal in Houston was 86%, according to Hapag-Lloyd, and “terminals continue to encounter equipment shortages for chassis due to prolonged street stays.”

Two ships were waiting off Virginia, while another two were waiting off New Orleans, on the East and Gulf coasts, respectively.

West Coast queues

According to the Marine Exchange of Southern California’s Friday 7 a.m. queue list, 24 container ships with a combined capacity of 208,903 TEUs were awaiting berths in Los Angeles/Long Beach (average size: 8,704 TEUs).

Despite a significant decline from a peak of 109 ships on January 9, this backlog remains the second-largest ship queue in North America. Since late May, the Los Angeles/Long Beach ship count has been circling at or slightly over its current level.

According to the Marine Exchange of the San Francisco Bay Region’s Friday 7 a.m. queueing list, 10 ships were waiting for berths in Oakland elsewhere on the West Coast. These vessels could carry 79,712 TEUs in total (average size: 7,971 TEUs).

Finally, three more ships were waiting off Seattle/Tacoma, while eight more boats were waiting for berths in Vancouver, British Columbia.


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Source: American Shipper


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