The mainstream press is now awash in articles on global supply chain breakdowns, exorbitant shipping costs, clogged ports, emptying store shelves and rising inflation. That’s good news for sentiment toward many (but not all) ocean shipping stocks.
After a summer lull, shares of bulker owners, container lines, container-ship lessors and liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers are moving up again and hitting new peaks. Stocks of crude and product tanker owners — who are heavily exposed to delta variant fallout — have yet to join the party.

Southern California ports set new records Friday for the number of vessels in port as the pandemic-driven import boom that continues to pressure ports from coast to coast.

The Marine Exchange of Southern California on Friday reported a new record of 134 ships in port, including 74 total ships at anchor and 60 at berth. This sets a new all-time record for the number of ships in port. Among them, 86 are containerships and 55 are at anchor, both of which are also new records. Thirty-one containerships were at berth Friday.

The Marine Exchange reports that all anchorages are full and a number of ships (15 by our count) are drifting.

“Through it all, your Marine Transportation System remains safe, secure, reliable, environmentally sound, and as efficient as can be during these unique, uncertain, and unsettled COVID-19 times because of the collaborative and cooperative work of all port partner,” the Marine Exchange said.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation’s top two ports by TEU volume, respectively, have been setting monthly cargo records as of late and expect to see high volumes last continuing through the end of the year, at least, as we are now into peak shipping season.

The Port of Long Beach reported moving 807,704 TEU in August, a new monthly record. The port has now broken monthly cargo records in 13 of the last 14 months amid a historic surge that started in July 2020.

The Port of Los Angeles, the top container port in the nation, has not yet reported August cargo numbers.

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Mr Mike Schuler