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Supply Chain to Remain Backed Up Until 2022, Experts Say

Posted - June 14, 2021

Imported cargo shipments to the U.S. are expected to remain at a record or near-record levels for several more months as consumer spending continues to restart the pandemic-damaged economy.

But economists and other experts told Transport Topics all of that buying is clogging an already overtaxed supply chain.

“I see the back half of the year remaining strong,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said. “The peak season starts for us on Aug. 1 for our back-to-school specials, fall fashions, and then the holidays. But we have to hustle; we still have some cargo in the back lot to clean up before we pivot to peak season.”

Seroka said the Port of Los Angeles and adjacent Port of Long Beach have improved the number of ships sitting in San Pedro Bay awaiting berths from the 60s to the high teens as of June 9.

“We continue to chip away at these ships at anchor, and they’re sitting for less time as well,” he said. “The ships are idling for about five days, and at the peak, they were sitting for eight days, so all the metrics are moving in the right direction.”


According to the National Retail Federation and the Hackett Association’s Global Port Tracker, ports they monitor moved 2.15 million 20-foot equivalent units in April, the latest month final figures are available. It marked the busiest April since NRF and Hackett began tracking container imports in 2002. The April figure was up 33.4% year-over-year, and those results followed the 2.27 million containers in March — a record for containers imported in the 19 years the program has been in place.


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