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The World’s Largest Parking Lot

Is in the Ocean

October 18, 2021

Don't count on being able to buy Christmas presents, or even a Christmas turkey, this year. The largest parking lot in the world is in the ocean - specifically outside U.S. ports. California’s ports have over a million containers stuck on ships that should have already docked, but may not dock until next year. So your kid's Lego's, your turkey, and all the trimmings for Christmas dinner may very well be on one of them. Check out this article to find out how to weather the largest shortage of supplies and material in world history.

Have you ever had a flight, say from Miami to Los Angeles via Chicago delayed due to snow in Illinois? We can understand that. Flights can’t take off or land, and some have to be diverted to other airports. But what if the mid-point in your flight was Dallas, which had sunny skies, and you’re told your flight is delayed “due to weather.”

That’s typically because some planes are stuck at airports far away due to the bad weather. That shouldn’t be a problem for you, but it is. Because the plane you were supposed to transfer to is stuck in New York. Due to this You either have to wait (sometimes overnight) or grow wings if you want to get to California. Switch to another airline? Great idea, but hundreds of others had it before you and all the airlines are full.

When I was in the Marine Corps the only airline, we could afford was a little outfit named Piedmont, which only had six small planes. The problem with Piedmont is that all its flights had to originate in or pass through one airport. So, all flights had to be scheduled to land or take off within a small-time window. As long as everything went well, passengers would scurry off their first airplane, then scramble onto their next – sort of like a Chinese fire drill. 

However, if just one of the six planes was late, developed mechanical problems, or even if there was a problem transferring luggage among the various planes, there would be long delays and even cancelations.

Now multiply the concept of one small piece of the puzzle stopping or slowing everything by thousands, and you will have a beginning understanding of the supply chain disaster. It’s not something that’s coming – it’s here. We’re only experiencing the beginnings of what is to come. There’s not much we can do about it, but we will discuss things you can do now to lessen the impact of the worldwide shortage of just about everything except paper clips.

First, some numbers:

  • There are hundreds of ships waiting outside U.S. ports to unload. The World’s Largest Parking Lot is at sea. This doesn’t count the thousands of ships waiting at ports around the world. Remember Piedmont – it’s all connected. If a ship can’t unload in Taiwan, it can’t load up the good we need here.
  • There are over a million 20-foot shipping containers just off the coast of California. Each of these containers holds 22 Metric Tons of goods. In case you’re not up on your Metric, a Metric Ton is equal to 2,204 U.S. pounds, in contrast to a U.S. ton which is 2,000 pounds.
  • 90% of container ship can carry over 21,000 of these containers, for a total of over 46 million pounds of goods. The super ships can carry much more.
  • The best estimates are that millions of containers are waiting in watery “parking lots” worldwide. Some will be able to unload in a few weeks, some in a few months. Some may even take years, since Chinese ships and larger ships (usual owned by China) are being given preference. Smaller ships from America and other nations will go bankrupt at sea.
  • Due to these and other factors, the cost of shipping just one 20-foot container from China to the U.S. has risen 1,000% (from $2,000 to $20,000) in the last year.

The backlog of billions of dollars of toys, clothing, electronics, vehicles, and furniture comes as the demand for consumer goods hit its highest point in history as consumers stay home instead of spending money on travel and entertainment. Armed with extra spending money from increases in wage and stimulus checks consumers have more disposable income and are more inclined to do their shopping online.

Despite the backlog, ports are operating at lower capacities. The ports are only operating at 60% to 70% capacity, Uffe Ostergaard, president of the North America region for German ship operator Hapag Lloyd told The Wall Street Journal. 

Normally 0 to 1 ships are waiting to dock at U.S. ports. Now some ports have hundreds waiting to land. The normal turnaround time – the time it takes to unload all the shipping containers aboard, and reload the ship is three days. Now it can take weeks. 

Last week, Los Angeles had a million 20-foot shipping containers — or about 24 million metric tons of goods — waiting in drift areas and at anchor for spots to open up along the port to dock and unload, according to data from the Marine Exchange of Southern California. list. The port has hundreds of normal container ships, and dozens of mega-container ships waiting to dock, the largest of which carries 16,022 20-foot shipping containers. 

The largest container in the world carries 23,756 Metric Tons. Just to put things into perspective of how large this ship’s carrying capacity is, it would take 1358 Boeing 747 planes to transport all these containers.

It’s not just the ports causing the delays. Recently, shipment made it off the container ship, was de-vanned and shipped, and had almost reached its destination, when it got stuck waiting for truck service. A lack of truck drivers caused that particular delay. Currently, mostly due to Harris-Biden policies, the nation had lost 575,000 truckers.

Is all this a deliberate attempt by China to make us even more dependent on them? Or is it a corrupt White House that wants to destroy our economy so that we become ever more dependent on them. Or, given the Biden family’s criminal connections with China, is this a cooperative effort?



Satellite Photos of Hundreds of Container Ships Biden Won't Allow to Land


One Million Shipping Containers Stuck Outside California Ports


Hundreds of Thousands of Seamen Stranded at Sea


When Will Shipping Snarl Ease?


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Dr. Tom Barrett is a pastor, teacher, author, conference keynote speaker, professor, certified executive coach, and marketplace minister. His teaching and coaching have blessed both church and business leaders. He has been ordained for over 40 years, and has pastored in seven churches over that time. Today he “pastors pastors” as he oversees ordained and licensed ministers in Florida for his ministerial fellowship.

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