Assessment: The Biden administration has struggled to deal with the crisis. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg convened a meeting on the cargo issue in July, but took two months’ of paternity leave, unannounced, in mid-August and only recently returned.
Sixty-six cargo ships were at anchor off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the busiest and second-busiest container ports in the United States, respectively, on Monday as an ongoing cargo crisis continued.
The ships, visible for miles from the shore, were anchored in formation, almost like a military fleet, as they hovered near the coast, waiting for a chance to dock and offload their cargo — and as more ships continued to arrive from across the ocean.
The two port facilities are adjacent to one another (see map). According to statistics provided by the Port of Los Angeles, there were 33 ships at anchor for each of the facilities on Monday, with an average time at anchor and berth of 17.5 days.
The backlog at the ports has been caused by a variety of factors: a rise in consumer demand as the pandemic recedes; a lack of dock workers to offload the ships; a lack of truckers to remove the containers; and a lack of space for containers in port.