To visualize the recent supply chain blockage, CNN used location data transmitted by each container ship and collected by MarineTraffic.
When animated in time lapse video, dozens of ships can be seen maneuvering in holding patterns 10 to 20 miles offshore. Another group of ships is moored closer to the shore. Container ships only move inside the port occasionally.
During the same period two years ago – the second full week of October 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic – data shows ships enter and leave ports easily without delay.
About 200,000 shipping containers were off the coast of Los Angeles earlier this week, according to Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles. Seroka told CNN that his employees are trying to move cargo out of the port as quickly as possible.
Congestion on the California coast led President Joe Biden to announce that the Port of Los Angeles would transition to 24/7 operations, in line with the nearby port of Long Beach. The two ports handle 40% of container traffic in the United States.