LA Ports to Implement New Queuing Procedure

By City News Service
City News Service
City News Service
November 11, 2021 Updated: November 11, 2021

LOS ANGELES—The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will implement a new queuing process requiring ships to wait for an available berth approximately 150 miles offshore.

Effective Nov. 16, each vessel will be assigned a place in the arrival queue based on their departure time from their last port of call.

Vessels will wait outside the new boundaries known as the Safety and Air Quality Area, allowing them to slow down and spread out, according to the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, one of the developers of the plan.

Under the current system, container vessels enter the arrival queue based on when they cross a line 20 nautical miles from the San Pedro Bay Port Complex.

The new process requires eastbound ships to remain 150 miles west of Southern California, while northbound and southbound ships must remain more than 50 miles from California and Mexico.

Vessels can come into the harbor for fuel, crew changes, and regular ship business per normal processes.

The procedures are a response to the historic supply chain congestion at the twin ports, North America’s largest maritime gateway.

The changes are designed to reduce ships at anchorage at the ports, where approximately 92 vessels were anchored or awaiting berth earlier this week. The process will not apply to ships currently in the arrival queue.

The new process is expected to improve air quality and safety.

“A safe, secure, efficient, reliable and environmentally sound marine transportation system is essential to our economy, which is why this new system is so vital,” said Marine Exchange of Southern California Executive Director Capt. James Kipling Louttit. “Our organization is thrilled to have helped develop a process that relies on comprehensive, real-time data to support the health of our ports.”