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Port Congestion On US West Coast Impacts RCP Exports
2021-09-05 10:30chinapaperonline.com
While congestion at Asian ports such as China has yet to improve, congestion at U.S. West Coast ports, such as Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, are getting worse day after day. Reports from Bloomberg said on the night of August 27th, there were already 44 container vessels waiting to call in at Los Angeles and Long Beach CA for loading/discharging, which broke the historical record of 40 vessels seen in February this year. By now, the average waiting time per vessel to call in for loading/discharging on US West Coast ports has expanded to 7.6 days, more than the 6.2 days registered in mid-August.

As usual, cargo operation at ports on the US West Coast enters into its seasonal peak in the 3rd Quarter each year. This time, however, the rush-hour operation has developed into a jam under shortage of labor and inconsistency or even break-down of trans-pacific trade routes as a result of the epidemic. This adds to the crisis of the global supply chain and will continue into 2022!

Since much of US recovered paper (RCP) exports go onboard and ship out from ports on the West Coast, most often from Los Angeles and Long Beach, the growing congestion in those ports will further impact the country's RCP exports, which include shipment of RCP ordered by Chinese paper producers to their pulp mills in Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand. Data from US Census Bureau showed 8.18 million/tonne of RCP at all grades were exported from the USA in the first half of 2021, up +22.6% from the same period of 2020. Among the total, about 65% landed in India, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Since the 2nd Quarter, however, the shipment has slowed down under increasing RCP prices and ocean shipment challenges. In June, shipment to those countries fell below 760,000/tonne. The export shipment may likely dip further in the remaining months of 2021.

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