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How long is the shipping crisis going to last?

Answer: The consensus is until 2023.

If you haven’t tried to have anything shipped to your home in the last few months, it may have escaped your notice that the U.S. is currently experiencing a shipping crisis. And to make matters worse, experts are predicting that things are about to get worse, and they may not get better until 2023.

Surprising no one, it all started with COVID-19. Vessel tracking company Spire Maritime has created a time lapse of satellite data showing the location of container ships over the last year at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The result, as you might expect, is not pretty.

The video begins in November 2019, where we see two red dots representing two shipping vessels waiting to dock. According to the executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, this was a typical backlog for the ports, even for the holiday season. However, by the time the video gets to November 2020, the number of red dots has increased to more than 10. From there they start going up exponentially, with February 2021 showing about 38 ships waiting to dock and October 2021 showing the 100-ship backlog that has been making recent headlines.