Port delays have resulted in more than 40 cargo ships lined up waiting to get into the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, an indication that backlogs that are hampering U.S. importers at the country’s main trade gateways. A surge in shipping volumes that began in late summer and rose during the holiday season has continued as retailers and manufacturers try to rebuild inventories that were depleted at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The backlogs have left many retailers waiting weeks for goods stuck on ships at sea or at the port, hitting small and medium-size companies with lean operations particularly hard. While port employees are working as hard as possible to clear the delays, they are also finding time to undergo testing for COVID-19, disinfecting equipment between shifts, and a growing number of employees are calling in sick. The import surge is expected to continue this year amid shortages of shipping capacity and equipment, including chassis and empty containers.