Ocean Shipping congestion continues unabated as the west coast sees nearly seventy ships waiting in the harbor for space. The delays correlate to approximately 11.5% of the global vessel capacity being taken out of the market by idle time waiting for berth. While the additional threat of escalating detention charges has helped clear some of the backlog, and many ships and cargo was diverted away from the west coast to plague the east, there are still critical periods of disruption that aren’t improving.
Record volumes of imports aren’t the only crushing force on the west coast as warehouse space remains at a premium due to the bottleneck. Clearing empty containers, moving cargo inland, and returning loaded export boxes is currently more difficult than it should be if a downward trend in shopping is on our horizon. Not even the hiccup of slight delays from the Lunar New Year Golden Week shut down have helped in any noticeable way.
It might appear to be a long way around to get to the most important information we can give our clients in this matter, but understanding that we’re not in a situation that’s slowly improving. According to Splash24/7, “In March and April, the number of vessels scheduled to depart Asia – and subsequently arrive on the North American West Coast – will increase sharply and surpass a 40% increase compared to the pre-pandemic normality, according to Alan Murphy, CEO of Sea-Intelligence.”
If the current best case scenario is that delays and traffic are remaining steady, this increase will be a tidal wave of cargo, delays, and disruptions. Considering the increase in vessel count means more small ships will be moving around, it will compound delays as it’s faster for ports to empty a large ship than many smaller vessels.
Will times get rough? It’s likely. But when you have a steady, knowledgeable logistics partner to work with you’re able to stay ahead of the swell. By planning ahead and being flexible through the second quarter, your relationship with Edward J. Zarach & Associates will lead you through the congestion. If you’re concerned about your ocean cargo in the coming months, call your Zarach representative and let us help you succeed.