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Port of San Diego helps with Los Angeles cargo ship backlog

Port of SD
Alexandra Rangel
A boat is pictured at the Port of San Diego in this undated photo.

A historic backlog of cargo ships off Southern California has led to warnings of a crisis.

Dozens of cargo ships, loaded with material and packaged goods, are waiting in line to dock at the port in Los Angeles and Long Beach, two of the busiest ports in the country.

Greg Borossay with the Port of San Diego says the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are suffering from a chronic backlog that has developed over the years.

“It’s a combination of the upsizing of vessels, the consolidation of vessel strings amongst global carriers,” Borossay said.

He says COVID-19 has increased delays.

“They're have been some issues with manning and staffing. Not only here, but overseas. For instance in Asia every time they get one or two cases of COVID, they shutdown the whole port.”

The Port of San Diego doesn’t have the same capabilities as the bigger ports, but Borossay says it is equipped to handle some freighters and they’ve been helping LA where they can.

“We’ve received 4-5 vessels specifically in the last 2-3 months but then we’ve had a host of all types of vessels since February,” he said.

They plan to continue helping unload cargo as long as it doesn't affect operations at home.

“It’s very important to The Port of San Diego to make sure we cover our existing anchor accounts so that we don’t stretch the labor too thin. That’s part of the problem we've seen in Los Angeles, they're really stretched with all this volume,” he said.

Borossay doesn't foresee a crisis at consumer stores, but says the delays will affect some retailers.

“Some of them are going to be in better shape than others and it really depends on the supply chain that retailers have in place.”

Port of San Diego helps with Los Angeles cargo ship backlog