Shipping Container Shortage Disrupts Global Transport

January 25, 2021

A huge shortage of shipping containers has caused delays and caused prices to skyrocket for goods from China. Disruptions from the pandemic, coupled with the surge in e-commerce, has led to a glut of container availability, with some companies waiting weeks.

In December, rates for shipping from Asia to North Europe were up 264% over the year before, according to supply chain risk firm Resilience360. The cost from Asia to the U.S. was up 145% annually.

The trade surplus between China and the U.S., which has been exacerbated by the pandemic, means that more containers are leaving China than returning. Making matters worse, the manufacture of new containers paused in the first half of last year when the global economy shut down. The faster-than-expected recovery in many parts of the world caught many manufacturers by surprise and left them scrambling to catch up.

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