Since long, every media and papers have been talking about the congestion at the port of West Coast, which is fairly extreme & unprecedent.
And, you can easily witness the situation with the below images crowded with dots representing ships anchored in San Pedro Bay waiting to berth.
As of 19th Feb, it's been told that approx. 60 ships were anchored awaiting for the berth space and there has been no sign of any improvement.
It all started with COVID19 and the consequent and yet dramatic demand surge which is not anticipated by many. To make it worse, COVID-19 outbreaks among maritime workers have hinged the situation in negative way, increasing the average dwell time up to 6 days.
As a result, average delays on arrival has really gone up 5.2 days with the schedule reliability at the record low level of 36 %. Given labor shortages caused by COVID outbreaks at the ports, the laden cargo are prioritized over the empties, frequently, leaving the voyage of sailing back to Asia not entirely full.
FEB 2020 : Break out of COvID19 >> the consequent Lock-down in most of the countries.
A rapid plunge in demand >> Blank Sailings >> adjust down the capacity
A surge in demand above the level nobody expected.
COVID-19 outbreaks among longshore workers -> Increase in dwell time Up -> the schedule reliability down -> Empty Shortage in Asia.
For now, every container that is basically available is in use and every ship that is available is virtually sailing, while being delayed.”
So, how long exactly it will take to get back to normal?
It's very hard to make the prediction. Back in October, I would have said, the worst is going to be over by Chinese New Year.
However, for now, I have no choice but to say it’s going to take a couple of more months because we do not see any sign of demand easing, if not getting stronger.