Since the start of the pandemic, eCommerce has rapidly been adopted by shoppers across the globe. With such a high volume of sales now occurring online, the demand for products from overseas has increased, putting a massive strain on the ocean freight industry. This has led to delays and a major increase in costs for containers, with some parts of the country’s coastlines paying almost 500% more per container than they were a year ago.
As of August 2021, ocean freight lines, especially those in Oakland, CA, and Long Beach, CA, have come to a near halt. Until recently, the Port of Oakland was rejecting any incoming freight due to congestion and was rerouting it to the Port of Long Beach, which eventually got too congested and had to halt freight as well.
Along with the congestion being experienced by our ports, container availability is at an all-time low. The delays have caused containers to sit idly waiting for a return trip back to ports in Asia. Not only has congestion caused a delay, but China’s largest port, Ningbo Port, is currently closed due to cases of Covid-19. The bottleneck created by the closure of Ningbo Port has also taken its toll on other nearby ports, creating a vicious cycle of backups and delays.
Although things look grim, there is a glimmer of hope. While these major ports have temporarily shut down, other nearby ports, such as the Meishan Terminal, have slowly started to ramp up their operations to try and meet the demands of the global supply chain.
How Retailers & Suppliers Can Adjust
For now, options are limited, but there are companies with a variety of affordable options to help retailers and manufacturers alike to get their products into the US. If you are a retailer experiencing issues getting your products into the US due to congestion or are looking to access lower prices for ocean freight shipments, please feel free to contact us. We’ve helped our retail and vendor partners handle these challenges, and we’d be happy to help you as well.