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The length of almost two football fields, the cargo ship Jupiter Spirit arrived in Los Angeles on April 24 after an almost three-week journey from Japan, ready to unload its cargo of about 2,000 Nissan Armada SUVs, Rogue crossovers and Infiniti sedans in a quick, half-day operation.

But when the ship, operated by Nissan Motor Co.’s freight arm, got about a kilometer and a half off offshore, its captain was ordered to drop anchor. And there the ship remained for almost a week — a floating symbol of an unprecedented logjam as nearby storage lots covering scores of hectares overflowed with vehicles that Americans suddenly have little desire to purchase.

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