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Line of cargo ships in Long Beach/LA now stretches to San Diego's coastline

An Encinitas resident tells News 8 he can see ships waiting as far south as La Jolla.

SAN DIEGO — The backup of cargo ships heading toward Long Beach and Los Angeles is so bad, you can now see vessels waiting off the coast of San Diego.

"The whole coast is just lined up with shipping containers," said Encinitas resident, Peter Byrne.

Byrne didn't realize how bad the shipping backup was until Friday night when he noticed a row of lights stretching across the horizon from his home.

"And I was like 'I wonder what all those are.' So, Saturday morning I went out and it was a super clear day and I could see with my naked eye lots of ships out there, so I got the telescope out and that's when I noticed they're all shipping containers," said Byrne.

On Monday, it was too hazy to see anything during the day.

But, according to the website, vesselfinder.com, they're out there off the San Diego coast in the dozens.

While some are going to San Diego, the majority are headed towards Long Beach and Los Angeles where, as of Sunday night, nearly 90 were waiting to get in.

The problem started as more people turned to online ordering during the pandemic.

But, it's gotten worse due a variety of issues including, according to some, added COVID protocols, a lack of warehouse employees and truck drivers.

To help get things moving, the Long Beach and LA ports have imposed $100 a day fines for containers that sit for more than nine days.

Hours of operation have also been extended, and the Biden administration has promised to "press on ways to address issues in the supply chain."

A spokesperson for the Port of San Diego told News 8 that operations here are running on schedule, though they have been accepting additional vessels and will "continue to evaluate vessel potential each week with an eye to assisting the supply chain issues in LA and Long Beach."

Despite the work being done, to alleviate the backup, experts warn it could stick around through the holiday season, leading to more empty shelves and higher prices.

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