Zero ships waiting off Southern California
The rise and fall of the SoCal queue
The traffic jam of container ships off Southern California began garnering headlines in early 2021 and became emblematic of the supply chain crisis (see aerial video here).
Southern California’s ship queue shot to new heights in the second half of 2021. The extremely high number of vessels anchored and loitering in close proximity to each other in San Pedro Bay and the surrounding waters raised both safety and environmental concerns.
A new queuing system was launched on Nov. 16, 2021, to address those concerns. Instead of securing a spot on the waiting list on a first-come, first-served basis, inbound ships were assigned a so-called “Calculated Time of Arrival” (CTA) as soon as they sailed from their prior ports. Their position in line was dictated by the CTA, so they had no need to race across the Pacific and wait close by. Ships were urged to voluntarily wait outside port waters. Most loitered off the Baja peninsula.
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