Demand, Shortages Continue to Pressure Prices… Container-Ship Backlog Moves Further Out to Sea…

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The Biden administration and maritime officials have sought to reduce the backlog with measures that included an attempt to extend the hours truckers pick up boxes. The measures have had limited impact, in part because of shortages of workers, trucking equipment and the sheer volume of boxes flowing into and out of the ports.

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A month ago, a then-record 86 container ships waited at anchor or in special drift areas within 40 miles of the port complex. By this week, the number of ships waiting for a berth in the area had fallen to 30, according to the Marine Exchange, while another 66 ships were moving toward the port at reduced speeds, known in the industry as slow-steaming, or were waiting outside a new safety zone.

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Jim McKenna, chief executive of the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents West Coast terminal operators in labor negotiations, said some ships now take 22 to 24 days to complete a voyage from Asia that used to take 10 to 14 days.


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