This Is What Gridlock at the Biggest Port In America Looks Like

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You've probably already heard about the dispute that's virtually frozen the flow of cargo into the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, leaving cargo ships and trucks without anywhere to go. But seeing it from the air is something else entirely.

Mike Kelley, an LA photographer who's interested in infrastructure, was flying into LAX on a commercial flight last weekend when he saw dozens of ships anchored offshore, waiting to offload their cargo when the dispute between the port and the longshoreman that's halted work at the ports is resolved.


"I saw all of these giant container ships anchored offshore and instantly knew that I had to photograph it," he writes on his blog. "It was one of the most exciting experiences I've had doing aerial photography—being that far out at sea, with the huge swells underneath you, and these massive, massive container ships everywhere was like living a scene out of Walter Mitty's life."

Kelley says that the 'copter was so far out at sea, the swells were "enormous," even from the air. But they were still dwarfed by the size of the cargo ships themselves: "The size of these ships blows the mind; many of them are over a thousand feet long," he writes. It's amazing to think about just how many of our belongings arrived on one of these enormous ships—a problem at one port could mean a problem in hundreds of stores around the country.


The photos he took have since blown up online—he says he's now partnering with Pure Photo to sell prints of the images. You can check out the rest of them on his blog, here. [Mike Kelley; h/t Co.Exist]


All images copyright Mike Kelley.