The hits keep coming for freight forwarding, international commerce, and trade. Since the pandemic started in late 2019, there has been issue after issue with international shipping. From large ports in China shutting down, to lumber decreases affecting crating and pallets, to the most infamous; the blockage of the Suez canal. It appears that the bad luck will continue with yet another large set back leading to new issues in one of America’s most busiest ports.
A record of more than 60 container vessels are currently sitting in San Pedro Bay right outside of L.A. And more container vessels are on their way. The port of Los Angeles is the busiest gateway for products coming from Asian countries. Meanwhile, the same issue is doubled on the east coast. Ports in New York, New Jersey, and in Savannah are all seeing increased congestion. And with such a large portion of retail goods coming from Asian manufacturers, this has led to yet another disaster. Every single step of the supply chain has seen new obstacles and new disruptions for almost two full years.
The pandemic saw a large spike in consumer purchases of appliances, and foreign goods. And while American consumers have not fully returned to their normal spending habits in specific industries like travel or events, the international commerce industry has had a sky rocket in demand. And simultaneously, as the story continues to go, there was a monumental shift in demand while also a monumental shift in supply. Warehouses, ports, manufacturers, and countless industries had months of inactivity because of the pandemic. The dam has burst. As we head towards the holiday season, the demand for international products is at its all time highest, while the international trade industry hasn’t even remotely recovered. It seems almost every week that there is a new hurdle, new record, or new unprecedented issue in air or ocean freight.
It is unclear when things are going to return to normal, or what that normal is. The benchmark of things settling down isn’t really well-defined. Arguably, retailers and online orders are going to continue to increase all the way through the end of Q4. This will continue to put more and more pressure on already overwhelmed freight carriers. We will likely see more congestion, more issues, and more record setting problems before the end of the year.
Bruning International provides freight forwarding and logistics services to our clients. In a good year, planning international or domestic shipments can be a headache. Right now, figuring that stuff out can be nearly impossible. Our team has the tools, years of experience, and know-how to help you optimize your shipping strategies.