Global Shipping Chaos: An Unforeseen situation

With the increase in the cost of goods, transportation and…

With the increase in the cost of goods, transportation and other global economic recovery issues, the pandemic has profoundly shattered the international trade.
At the coast of Los Angeles, We can observe More than two dozen indolent cargo ships for almost two weeks which are crammed with goods like fitness bikes, electronics, and other high-requisite imported goods.
Besides, in Kansas City, it is quite problematic for Farmers to ship soybeans to the buyers in the Market.
A good number of containers which delivered millions of masks to different countries in Africa and South America in the early days of pandemic are left empty and idle—For the reason that shippers have subjected their ships towards highly familiar routes which bridge the North America and Europe with Asia. Even, often ships get stuck in floating traffic jams for days, when they are tied to dock for unloading cargo. So at single location, both loading and unloading of a container have become difficult.
The head of Global Ocean Network, the Lars Mikael Jensen says that “he has never seen such a huge shipping chaos in which almost all supply chains including shipping containers, trucks, and warehouses are under severe tension
Such a fluctuating effect is being felt by the economies of entire world. 
Like at different ports in Australia, New Zealand, and India the empty containers are being piled up. That’s why in India, the electronics manufacturers are compiled to transport their wares over 1,000 miles west across the Mumbai port through truck.
Although, there is no idea how further this chaotic situation will go, yet it is predicted by analytics that the containers will remain empty until the end of the year.
The introduction of containers in trade since 1956 has revolutionized the shipping and has made products to be packed into standard-size container and loaded on rail cars and trucks to be shipped all over the world.
Even these Containers are used for the transportation of flat panel displays of smartphones and laptops from South Korea to in China, and also for transporting completed devices across borders.
The Factors which Broke out this Chaos
Earlier such chaotic situation was seen in shipping more than a decade ago during the global financial crisis. 
The shipping industry further faced problem when pandemic broke out in China which brought a heavy lock down of factories, stopped the transportation and the shippers had declined the shipping and idled many of their ships.
The arrival of pandemic increased the demand for protective gear like surgical masks and gowns used by frontline medical people. The production of such gear was increased in China. The china used container ships to transport its goods all over the world.
The high demand of protection equipment made Shipping containers full of personal protection equipment like masks and gloves to be shipped to ports far from the main trade routes.
The report of Sea-Intelligence (a Copenhagen-based research firm) says that exercise equipment delivery by container from Asia to North America has been doubled between September and November than time a year before. Even, shipping of other stove, range, and cooking related equipment have also been doubled. Besides, there is rise of over 6,800% in disinfectants.
As per Alan Murphy, “All of the stuff that’s been rising has been basically pandemic driven.” That’s why the intensity of global trade in 2020 had decreased by just 1% as compared to 2019. Though it further declined by 12%, but soon got turnabout. This resulted in containers misplacement and rapid increase in shipping costs.
In New York, the Baum-Essex that manufactures umbrellas for Costco, cotton bags for Walmart and ceramics for Bed Bath. Six months earlier, he was offered about $2,500 for shipping a 40-foot container to California.
Though, before it the same person used to be charged just $6,000 to $7,000 for same. So he claims that this is the highest ever increase in rate since 45 years in the market.
Under this condition, He had to wait for almost 90 days to adjust room in a ship for shipping wicker chairs and tables, which he contracted in early September.
Backlog at California’s Crowded Ports
The pandemic made people either sick or quarantined, and caused a heavy shortage of dockworkers and truck drivers at the twin ports of Los Angeles and neighboring Long Beach which ultimately caused delay of Unloading.
In a recent board meeting, director of the Los Angeles port, Gene Seroka said “The backlog in volume is expected to last until midsummer,” 
The ships at the coast of Los Angeles have no option to be anchored. The drift boxes are vacated for such ships where they can float easily, as the planes circling over crowded airports.
This Shipping traffic jam has troubled a profound consumer companies including Under Armour, a sportswear company, to Hasbro, a gaming and toy company etc.
This made the cost of air shipment about eight times that of sea shipment, and the majority of goods were used to be transported by the cargo holds of passenger planes. But, such transportation was limited as the air transport is severely restricted.
Some shipment carriers have redirected their paths, now first they stop at 400 miles north of Los Angeles, in Oakland, California, before carrying goods to Los Angeles. So they just stack containers on ships as per their destination to be unloaded. A sudden change in plan leads them for the rearrangement of container stack on ship.
Besides, According to Bryan Brandes, the chief of port maritime that the pandemic has confined dockworkers to their home looking after children who are not in school.
Mr. Brandes said “they will ship into Oakland directly in normal times, as right now, they have almost seven to eleven ships at anchorage.
As now the empty containers are being shipped back to Asia.
And the dysfunction on the West Coast of the United States has prompted the issues thousands of miles away.
This has made Scoular, one of the largest agricultural exporters in country, to fill grain and soybeans into containers at ports in Chicago and Kansas City to transport them to Pacific ports by rail on their way to Asia.
How this chaos will end is still uncertain. 
As per information of a Hamburg-based consultancy, the Container xChange, the shippers have been actively shipping scarce containers to Asia in recent days for the end of supply.
Some analysts believe that if the vaccination rates rise and life goes back to normal routine, the Americans will surely shift their focus from products to experiences for reducing the demand of containers.
On the return of normal life, the stores will be stocked up with supplies in preparation to fulfill demand of shopping fever for the holiday.

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