Shipments Delayed: Ocean Carrier Shipping Times Surge in Supply-Chain Crunch
Container line delays are tying up shipping capacity and inventories, complicating economic recovery efforts. This will largely impact online sales and online shopping.
The shipping delays that started building up late last year worsened during a normally slack period in shipping demand early in the year. They have tied up inventories in some cases for weeks at a time as vessels wait to reach berths while offloaded containers sit for long periods at packed freight terminals.
Shipping executives say the greatest delays have been at Southern California’s neighboring ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Heavy demand by U.S. importers to restock inventories depleted during the past year’s Covid-19 restrictions has swamped the largest U.S. trade gateway and triggered heavy logjams of ships off the coast.
The delays appear to be the longest at the California ports but Sea-Intelligence said ships moving from Asia to Europe have also been held up past their scheduled arrivals.
Congestion has led to delays of up to six days at sites including Port Klang in Malaysia, Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Piraeus in Greece, Southampton in the U.K. and the Kao-hsiung port in Taiwan.
The cargo delivery delays have stretched from docks to rail yards, truck terminals and distribution centers, leaving everyone from giant retailers and auto manufacturers to mom-and-pop shops short of supplies and paying multiple times more compared with last year to move their merchandise.
The cost of moving a 40-foot sea container from China to U.S. West Coast ports was quoted this week at $5,650, according to the Freightos Baltic Index, up 34.5% since the start of the year and 228% higher than the same period last year.
All these delays and increased costs finally will impact US online market.