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Record Number Of Cargo Ships Waiting To Unload At Port Of Oakland May Delay Goods For Months

OAKLAND (KPIX) -- It's something the Port of Oakland has never seen before. A record number of cargo ships are anchored in San Francisco Bay, waiting to unload their containers. Every one of those ships carries multiple containers full of goods, items that may take a little while longer to arrive in stores and at your front door.

"We set a historic record. We have never seen anything like this before, it's unprecedented." says Port of Oakland spokesperson Marilyn Sandifur.

Sandifur says this is the busiest time in the 94 year history of the port.

"Whenever you see container ships anchoring out in the bay, know that is unusual," she said.

She adds the containers floating in the bay are loaded with items such as gym equipment, furniture and electronics, as consumers are loosening their wallets with the end of the pandemic in sight. The back up of cargo ships extends up and down the West Coast.

Isaac Larian, the CEO of MGA Entertainment, the maker of the hit LOL Surprise Doll line is waiting for his shipment to arrive in Los Angeles.

"We have four hundred and forty-five containers sitting around the water," says Larian.

While experts say this is a near post pandemic buying boom, part of the problem is ports are not fully staffed because of the pandemic. Plus, this is not just about imports. The port of Oakland says 97,000 containers came in, but 94,000 are going out, carrying a lot of agricultural products to Asia.

Sandifur says, "We're not only seeing a big import surge. You know this demand for goods is happening around the world. So we're exporting quite a bit of goods as well."

As for how long will we see this back up last, experts are predicting this trend to continue through the summer, and if that happens, this could realistically last for the rest of the year as the demand for imports increases during the holidays.

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