At least 19 ships are anchored outside the Tauranga Harbour with another three en route to the Port of Tauranga as disruption to the international supply chain is creating a "relentless" flow of cargo.
Ship Finder, a live marine tracking website, shows 19 vessels anchored from the harbour entrance along the coast towards the Coromandel, while another three vessels are on route, located off the coast of Whakatāne.
A Port of Tauranga spokeswoman said the backlog was a result of ongoing disruption to the international supply chain.
"There is also still congestion and reduced capacity at Ports of Auckland, so we are handling large volumes of diverted import and export cargo."
The spokeswoman said to be clear, ships were not being diverted from Auckland currently but cargo was, as were empty containers.
There are no delays on land due to an increase in the Port's train programme, but a lot of ships were arriving outside of their scheduled time, she said.
"We are processing them as they arrive and they wait at anchor until a berth is available.
"We are in peak kiwifruit export season for container and charter vessels and there is high international demand for New Zealand's export logs."
The ships waiting at anchor were mostly log export and container import and export ships, the spokeswoman said.
"The number changes daily.
"Our team members and our service providers are doing an amazing job in processing the relentless flow of cargo and we thank our customers for their patience."
Ports of Auckland spokesman Matt Ball said it had no container vessels at anchor at present.
Import dwell times at Auckland were low, he said.
''Containers are taken off-port in under three days on average. The current delay between vessels' planned arrival and actual berthing is one to two days.''
The Bay of Plenty Times reported on "container chaos" earlier this month as a result of shipping congestion affecting ports across the globe - fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the time a Port of Tauranga spokeswoman said KiwiRail had supplied extra trains to avoid "significant delays".
She said vessels were still arriving off-schedule and while the port was processing them as they arrive, some were having to wait briefly at anchor.