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Shipping Difficulties: The Shortage Of Containers Is Serious

Nov 19, 2020

Starting from the end of October 2020, the shipping space is booked, but there are no containers available.

This is probably a problem encountered by many foreign traders recently. How serious is it?

Spent thousands of dollars to order empty containers, and have to wait for the scheduled date;

Meanwhile Ocean freight has been risen, congestion charges have been increased, and surcharges have also been increased.

The shortage of containers is serious

Or it will last until the first quarter of 2021

Container equipment leasing company Triton predicts that in the fourth quarter of this year, the market will continue to heat up, and demand may continue until the Chinese New Year in 2021 (mid-February 2021).

"At present, orders for January next year are all filled, and manufacturers are accepting orders for February and March next year."

"Consumers' demand in North America continues to be strong, especially for household-related products."

Philippe Wendling, senior vice president of marketing at Textainer, a container leasing company/seller of second-hand containers, believes that the container shortage may continue for another four months until February next year.

It is understood that the main current shortage is 40ft containers.

Why is there such a shortage of containers?

Congestion on one hand, & shortage on the other

Since the epidemic, a series of factors have affected prices, which have changed the relationship between supply and demand and broke the relatively stable process in the past.

This includes the cancellation of trans-Pacific trade voyages by container shipping companies, and the surge in cargo imports from Asia to Europe in July and August due to the alleviation of the blockade. In addition, the time difference between domestic and foreign epidemics, production and demand time differences, caused containers in Asian ports. Availability has dropped sharply, while some American and European ports are facing increased stay time and port congestion. In addition, there is a shortage of containers and spaces in shipping, and the phenomenon of container dumping has not only affected the shipment plan, but also affected the delay of the next ship. Open, leading to a constant loop.

Under the influence of various factors, the number of mobile containers is decreasing, which is catching up with the peak season for export, and the supply exceeds demand. Finally, there is a phenomenon of container congestion, inaccessibility of some areas, and shortage:

On one hand, there are congestion of containers in many foreign areas, lack of dockers, and high waiting fees/congestion fees and surcharges:

According to a report by the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the berthing time of ships at the Auckland port will be delayed by 10-13 days, and the situation has become very bad due to the lack of dock workers, so a congestion surcharge will be charged.

Felixstowe will charge a port congestion fee of US$150 per TEU for all Asian containers imported or exported from October 1st.

From November 15th, Hapag-Lloyd will charge a surcharge of US$175 per box for 40-foot tall containers, which is applicable to the route markets from China (including Macau and Hong Kong) to the Nordic and Mediterranean markets.

Starting from the date of the bill of lading on November 9, 2020, MSC will impose a congestion surcharge of US$300/TEU on all export goods shipped from Europe, Turkey and Israel to Auckland Port in New Zealand.

In addition, starting from the same day, for all goods shipped from inland China/Hong Kong/Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia to the Port of Oakland, the peak season surcharge (PSS) will be charged 300 USD/TEU.

On the other hand, due to the impact of the epidemic, many containers are unable to enter and exit the transportation control:

Hapag Lloyd will now retrieve the empty containers from the Chinese warehouse only before the voyage arrives, all of which will have to wait 8 days.

We do remind you that the shortage of containers is not expected to disappear in a short time. All of you are ready to place the order, please do arrange shipments reasonably and arrange bookings in advance!