90% of the world’s trade goods are transported by international shipping. Let that sink it.
When countries went into lockdown in early 2020, restrictions on peoples’ movements resulted in significant changes in consumption patterns.
An industry with an estimated 5,500 container vessels was caught off gaurd by the COVID-19 lockdowns. Then, when Americans flush with stimulus checks embarked on a drunk binge spending spree a year later, there simple weren’t enough ships to meet the explosive demand.
Every able container ship was pulled into service in a scramble to reach U.S. consumers.
But with 40% of US imports going through southern Californian in LA, it had become common to see up to 70 ships just floating nearby waiting to offload the products we’ve been waiting for.
According to Peter Sands, chief analyst at Xeneta, a Norwegian analytics firm for the freight industry; “Everything is so out of its normal balance it will take more than a year for global logistics to unwind.”
As if things weren’t shitty enough, there’s also a container for Asian exporters. Those big ass steel boxes are returning to Asia at a rate of only one for every four arriving in the U.S.
The global supply chain network is on its knees. After a fall in shipping demand during the early days of the pandemic in 2020, a surge at the end of that year led to delays, port traffic jams, and blockages across the world. Now, containers are jammed up in ports due to rising demand and a continuing shortage of dockworkers and truckers.
Don’t look for any solutions coming soon, supply chain experts predict the to remain a backlog in shipping to American ports that could last into early 2023.
The logjam has sent shipping costs to record highs up 449%.
So what’s the solution?
The shipping industry is lobbying for local governments to increase spending on critical parts of the supply chain. Specifically ports, railways, warehouses, and roads in order to increase capacity and cope with ongoing demand.