The Port of Long Beach is home to a backlog of ships off the coast amid congestion troubles.
Satellite images show ships waiting to unload amid a spike in demand for consumer goods.
Photos from 2019 and 2020 highlight the extent of the problem this year.
America’s second-busiest port, the Port of Long Beach, is currently home to a backlog of ships waiting off the coast as congestion troubles continue to plague the California container port and its sister, the largest port in the country, in Los Angeles.
Last week, the ship-tracking website Marine Traffic recorded more than 50 container ships idling outside Long Beach and the adjoining Port of Los Angeles.
Satellite imagery from the scene paints a picture of the growing bottleneck compared to years past.
Ships off the coast of Long Beach are waiting days, and sometimes weeks to unload cargo due to a slowdown of the entire shipping cycle.
Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach, told GCaptain.com that warehouses at the site have little to no room to accommodate the ongoing spike in containers waiting to move off the terminals.
“This is not just about a record number of ships waiting off the coast,” he told the outlet. “We are working with state, federal, local, and industry partners to address issues with the entire supply chain that have finally caught up with us.”
The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles handle the majority of cargo coming from China, according to BBC News, which means once the congestion starts, it worsens quickly.
In the first eight months of 2021, there was about a 25% increase in cargo shipped from Asia to the US compared to the same period in 2019, BBC News reported.
Congestion troubles at ports around the world are expected to continue into the new year. But it wasn’t always this backed up.
Satellite images from October 2019 show minimal container congestion before the pandemic at the port two years ago.
A shot from September 2020 similarly shows little ship traffic off the coast of Long Beach.
But the same shot taken in October of this year shows just how many ships are stuck in the logjam.
The White House has created a task force to try and address the bottlenecks, but traffic is expected to persist for the foreseeable future.