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Congestion is reaching out from the ocean to impact air cargo as the logistics industry stumbles under record imports and extreme equipment imbalances. When supply chains go topsy turvy, shippers who traditionally move cargo by ocean turn to air options to expedite the urgent inventory while the main shipments are delayed by congestion. If the supply chain doesn’t clear up quickly enough then more and more cargo is forced to fly in order to meet the demand. 


Currently, demand is astronomical. Record imports have been flowing into the United States for over a year as people divert entertainment and service budgets to home goods, improvement, and craft projects. Those eighteen months of isolation, closed events, and quarantine left people with money to shop; it will take at least a year for those goods to replenish back to post-pandemic levels


While airports did see issues coming when the ocean ports clogged up, they weren’t ready for the onslaught of cargo flying into the United States. Early on, Chicago saw the worst of the congestion, especially in the cargo handling division where some freight was so delayed that forwarders showed up with their own trucks, forklifts, and some cash to try and retrieve their most important cargo. 


Now, JFK is struggling with cargo that is “weeks behind” still waiting on the tarmac. These delays are being compounded by the fact that passenger flights are still 70% lower than pre-pandemic which limits the capacity available in belly space. When capacity is the supply and demand grows too large we see prices rise accordingly. 


There have been a lot of speculative names for what’s happening, including the apt title: Peak Season to End All Peak Seasons. No matter what we call it, our supply chains are facing massive disruption. This is the time we all need to work together to create a comprehensive logistics plan to support your inventory during the disruption. Contact your Edward J. Zarach representative to plan ahead for success.