UPDATE Jan 19, 2021: Included in the story of how the ports container congestion go so severe, Flexport has gone on record with Bloomberg discussing the number of 20 food shipping containers that are needed to alleviate the imbalance and meet the demands: 500,000. That is a gigantic imbalance. The number of total containers in service isn’t a new factor in the discussion of the current market. Back in October there were talks about how Chinese container manufacturers were running at full capacity to keep up with orders.
Current numbers are staggering as the flow of imports into the United States more resembles a broken fire hydrant than the typical faucet. Such a strong influx has caused equipment scarcity, chassis shortages, and astronomical rates and fees that have forwarders pushing back on what many see as a self-made shortage.
More than 30 vessels at anchor waiting for space in Los Angeles and Long Beach as more and more shipments race into the nation. As of Friday, 56 container ships were at the port with 24 at berth and 32 at anchor with numbers climbing as imports outpace exports at record levels. The container shortage has also caused issues with carriers refusing to accept loaded export containers so they can hurry and return empties to load with new imports bound for US ports. This practice has drawn ire and investigation in Europe and many U.S. shippers are asking for intermediation to get carriers to accept loaded boxes.
Options to keep cargo moving include proper planning and a lot of flexibility. As we’ve learned over the past few months, the hiccups are hitting everyone who transports cargo and the only options we have are to plan out your equipment needs to ensure you can get the right size and loading times and be flexible with your shipments in case of rerouted or blanked sailings that we expect to see for the Chinese New Year.
We’ve mentioned it before but this is the exact time in the market when you need an experienced forwarder in your corner. At Edward J. Zarach & Associates, you have the power of our carrier connections and contracted rates to work for your benefits when others are finding space dried up and equipment nonexistent. Lean on our industry experts to keep your cargo flowing despite the pandemic panics happing at ports.