Beginning November 16th, a new process for containerships bound for US’s two busiest container ports will have ships waiting at least 150 miles from shore, instead of anchorages and loitering areas closer to the coast.
he new process aims to improve safety and air quality off of Southern California while also “dramatically reducing” the number of backlogged ships at anchor close to shore near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
It was developed by a working group of maritime industry stakeholders including Pacific Maritime Association, Pacific Merchant Marine Shipping Association and Marine Exchange of Southern California, a Coast Guard affiliated organization that manages vessel traffic services (VTS) for the region, as well as others.
This new process calls for inbound containerships arriving from across the Pacific to wait for an available berth about 150 miles off the Southern California coast.
The 150-mile boundary will apply only to eastbound ships, while northbound/southbound ships must remain more than 50 miles from shore.
What is more, each ship will be assigned a place in the arrival queue based on their departure time from their last port of call, rather than the current system which has ships entering the queue based on when they cross a line 20 nautical miles from the San Pedro Bay Port Complex.
However, vessels will be able to come into harbor for fuel, crew changes and regular business, with the new process does not applying to ships already in the queue.
The new container vessel queuing process creates a fair and transparent system to reduce vessels at the anchor near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach
stated PMA CEO Jim McKenna.
Under the new process, vessels will also be prohibited from operating in the so-called “Safety and Air Quality Area,” designed to limit the number of containerships near the port complex.
This system delivers a pragmatic solution through order and predictability that will reduce the number o ships idling off the coast in the coming months, improve safety, and support the efficient movement of container-based goods
added PMSA President John McLaurin.
These news come as the number of container ships stuck off Southern California reached new records, as 111 are waiting around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.