Container disruption in the trans-Pacific market has spread out to hit Asia / Europe, Asia / Mediterranean, and Asia to USEC driving rates up so high that if the numbers weren’t confirmed nobody would believe them. Last year a forty-foot container from Asia to the US west coast was in the $2,000 range and now that cost is nearing $15,000 in some cases. The only good thing to say about that is that it’s not quite reached ten times as much, yet.
Analysts are calling the situation “a free-for_all” and calling the freight market “broken” as rates continue to soar, the dependability of vessels drops to catastrophic delays, and the air freight market starts to take up the emergency cargo. The chance of getting a space, at any rate, keeping that space, finding equipment, getting it delivered, loaded and returned, put onto a vessel that departs and arrives where it is supposed to be is almost impossible even without the added nightmare of transshipments options.
In response to this situation, carriers have made the decision to blank sailings between Asia and Europe to try and let the ports catch up on the backlog of cargo waiting for service. While we aren’t sure how fewer vessels will improve the lack of vessel space and container disruption, it’s not bad news for the ports themselves. As we discussed earlier this year, many ships were stuck at anchor in San Pedro Bay, waiting for a berth and in Europe a flood of ships that had been delayed during the Suez Canal blockage was mostly destined for the same ports, hardily burdening the infrastructure. A break isn’t the worst decision, but it does feel like the firefighters just sat down on the curb for a cup of coffee while your house continues to burn behind them.
As much as we jest to keep from sounding too morose, the ocean freight market is a madhouse and much like everyone else involved in shipping by container, your representatives at Edward J. Zarach & Associates are advocating hard for your cargo with our partners. We’re leaning on our carrier connections to navigate what’s happening and try to protect our clients as fully as possible. Unfortunately, this is a systemic issue that won’t abate before the summer and we’ll need your patience and flexibility to push through. Don’t dismiss the importance of calling us to talk about adjusting your logistics plan to ensure your supply chain is protected during this situation. We have options and we’d like to share them with you.