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Zero ships waiting off Southern California for first time since 2020

Not a single container ship waited offshore of the ports of Los Angeles or Long Beach on Nov. 22-23. It was the first time the queue had gone to zero since October 2020, in the early days of the COVID-era consumer boom.

“The container-ship backup for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has ended,” declared Kip Louttit, executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, in a statement to the media. “It is time to move into a different phase of operations.” 

The backup may be over in Southern California, but it’s not yet over for North America overall.

An American Shipper survey of MarineTraffic ship-position data and port queue lists showed 59 container ships waiting off North American ports on Nov. 23, mainly along the East and Gulf coasts.

That’s still well above pre-COVID levels, when numbers were in the single digits. But congestion is clearly easing: The count is down 60% from the peaks earlier this year.

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