There were 40 container ships waiting for berths within 40 miles of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Friday. But there were also 56 container ships waiting farther out to sea, putting the actual tally at an all-time-high of 96, according to new data from the Marine Exchange of Southern California.
The Marine Exchange has just unveiled its new methodology for counting container ships waiting outside the 40-mile "in port" zone. A new queuing system has been in place since mid-November that encourages container ships to wait outside of a specially designated Safety and Air Quality Area (SAQA) that extends 150 miles to the west of the ports and 50 miles to the north and south.
This has sharply reduced the number of ships closer to shore, leading to suggestions that efforts to tackle port congestion are cutting into the offshore queue — a misconception that should be dispelled by the Marine Exchange's new counting method.