The lingering effects of COVID-19 on global trade persist, now affecting the availability of shipping containers.
Typically, the total supply of containers is always in excess of demand and is never fully used. Upkeep is accomplished through the retiring of old containers and the yearly manufacturing of brand-new replacement units. However, this year, container inventory at ports of loading became imbalanced due to a few unforeseen variables, including the early scrapping of old units at the onset of COVID-19, late reordering and slow manufacturing of new replacement units, and the extraordinary peak season.
As the demand for goods increased so did pressure on container inventories, straining the capabilities of top manufacturers in the industry. Due to the resulting container deficit, carriers are experiencing an extreme shortage of containers at ports of loading.
“Efforts to build new containers are falling short of global demand,” said Steve Myers, Regional Vice President of Operations. “At the moment, manufacturers are basically operating at capacity to catch up with demand. We do not expect to see equipment imbalance recover until at least Chinese New Year.”