Monthly schedule reliability of major container liners by carrier 2020-2023
Reasons for ship delaysThroughout 2021 and 2022, some of the largest ports in the world were struggling with labor shortages, mandatory port closures due to coronavirus outbreaks, and late arrivals of vessels. These have either restricted port operations or stopped them altogether. Some ships could skip the affected port and continue on their route to the next port, but most ships had no choice but to wait at the port until its operations resumed. This has led to an accumulation of vessels at ports, causing port congestions and, in turn, more ship delays.
Port congestions in the U.S. and ChinaIn October 2021, 53 ships were waiting outside Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, up from just five vessels in October 2020. From April to May 2022, between 29 and 46 ships were waiting at these ports.
Due to China’s strict zero-COVID policy, some of the busiest Chinese ports have been put on lockdown in the past two years to curb the spread of the virus. In March and April 2022, about 470 and 506 ships were waiting outside Chinese ports, respectively.