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Are U.S. East Coast ports congested?

Published by July 22,2022


Congestion at U.S. ports has shifted east, with more ships now waiting at the ports of New York and Houston than Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The total number of container ships waiting for berths at U.S. ports has fallen to 125 from a peak of 150 at the start of the year, however, far more are waiting for berths at east coast facilities, the report showed.

"While more than two-thirds of container ships were waiting for a berth on the West Coast in January, only one-third are now berthed, as berthed ships and the resulting congestion are diverted east," the report said.

This eastward movement has increased in the last month, and now Houston and New York have as many container ships waiting for berth as Los Angeles/LB combined. The fastest growing is Savannah, where 42 ships are now waiting for a berth, six times the number the port can hold, meaning the typical 14-day wait at anchor.

Part of the reason for the increased congestion at U.S. East Coast ports is that shipping lines have changed the deployment of U.S. West Coast ports to opt for all-water routes to the U.S. East Coast in order to avoid LA/LB delays.

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