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Container ships moored off the Port of Long Beach on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. Photo: Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Port congestion in Southern California appears to have changed little over the last week.

Driving the news: The total number of container ships at anchor or loitering within 40 miles of Los Angeles and Long Beach dropped to 35 Monday, down from a peak of 86 on Nov. 16, according to data from the Marine Exchange of Southern California.

Yes, but: The nonprofit organization, which helps facilitate activity for four major ports, put a new queuing system in place last month to push awaiting ships further off-coast in an effort to cut emissions and improve maritime safety.

  • There are 59 “loitering or slow-speed-steaming” container ships outside the new Safety and Air Quality Area, for a total of 94 ships backed up (down from 96 on Friday).

Why it matters: Holiday goods still sitting on boats will likely never make it in time.

  • Now, companies that may have over-ordered in response to supply chain constraints risk facing an inventory glut come January.

What we're watching: Which retailers get caught with oversupply.

  • "Nobody wants to write down inventory after Christmas," Jaime Katz, a senior equity analyst for Morningstar, tells Axios.
  • Holiday Barbies, for example, are not going to sell for full price after the holidays.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 30, 2021 - Health

91 cruise ships under CDC investigation following COVID outbreaks

The Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship. Photo: Gerard Bottino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday said it is actively investigating or observing 91 cruise ships following COVID-19 outbreaks on board.

Why it matters: The Omicron variant has driven up infections across the U.S., upending vacation plans and disrupting travel. The new strain is the latest sign of the pandemic's hold on the cruise line industry.

Nathan Bomey, author of Closer
Dec 30, 2021 - Economy & Business

Omicron brings calls to pause cruise ships again

Passengers wait for the Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas cruise ship to set sail on Christmas Eve in Bayonne, N.J. Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

Cruise lines are facing pressure to temporarily cease sailing as they grapple with the worst COVID outbreaks since they resumed trips in the summer.

Driving the news: The CDC on Thursday said all travelers should avoid cruises, no matter their vaccination status.

Fed: Rate hikes "will soon be appropriate"

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Federal Reserve officials expect "it will soon be appropriate" to raise the central bank's main target interest rate, setting the stage for a rate hike at its next meeting in mid-March.

Driving the news: In a statement following a two-day meeting published Wednesday afternoon, however, the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee teed up its next move without taking new action.