376 container vessels queuing off ports around the world

As a result of the strained freight market, particularly on Pacific routes, 2.4 million containers are currently stuck on board vessels waiting to berth. A majority of them are waiting off the coasts of China and the US, according to new figures posted by Vessels Value.

Photo: Stringer/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix


Published: 02.09.21 at 14:05

Bottlenecks and capacity shortages are creating long queues in key ports on various routes, particularly from Asia to the US and Europe, with a large portion of the world’s seaborne cargo currently loaded on board vessels waiting to berth.

Globally, 376 container ships carrying a total of 2.4 million teu are piled up near ports, according to new figures compiled Thursday, Sept. 2, by ship database Vessels Values on behalf of ShippingWatch.

This is primarily due to bottlenecks near Zhoushan and Ningbo in China, where the key container terminal Meishan recently had to close for two weeks as a result of a port worker testing positive for Covid-19, and US ports Long Beach and Los Angeles in California, which receive a large portion of cargo from China.

In Zhoushan, 105 container ships carrying a total of 340,738 teu are waiting for room to open up in the port, while 71 container vessels loaded with 282,141 containers are piled up near Ningbo, according to Vessels Value.

On the US side, 34 container ships carrying 217,728 teu are waiting to call in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

This also includes the ship which has waited the longest on a global scale. MSC Vandaya has been queuing for 15 days off the Port of Long Beach.

An extraordinary combination of high demand and a shortage of vessels has driven up freight rates and severely strained supply chains.

Among other things, the situation has prompted the US Federal Maritime Commission to launch an investigation into eight container lines in the wake of tip-offs from various parties indicating that they are tacking on surcharges in an unlawful manner.



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