Port backups force retailers to switch to air freight for imported goods

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

The combination of a record number of containers arriving at the Port of Los Angeles — the busiest container port in the Western Hemisphere due to its proximity to Asia — and Covid-19 is slowing down imports to the U.S…

The congestion at ports has some companies forgoing maritime shipping in favor of airfreight to get popular or seasonal items on store shelves faster. Air rates are more expensive than shipping via ocean freight, but they’ve been dropping in recent months, according to online international freight marketplace Freightos…

Matt Castle, vice president of airfreight products and services at C.H. Robinson…said. “One of the things I never thought we would see being moved by air was vacuum cleaners. It’s a hot item now with so many people at home.”

RTFA. This is affecting your life whether you approve or not. Those retailers who aren’t pressed for time-sensitive economic decisions are eating the cost of air freight. Some retailers won’t. They’ll pass it along to their consumers.

Do your homework before you buy!

5 thoughts on “Port backups force retailers to switch to air freight for imported goods

    • says:

      “…During the pandemic, shipping rates rose, and traffic was unbalanced: for every three shipping containers that left China, only one returned, because export sectors in other countries had been decimated. Even before the pandemic, China had produced ninety-six per cent of the world’s shipping containers, and now that industry was also in overdrive.”
      Peter Hessler, “The Rise of Made-in-China Diplomacy”

  1. Yorikke says:

    The world faces another epic toilet paper crisis – thanks to the global crunch in shipping containers https://fortune.com/2021/03/25/brace-yourself-globe-faces-another-epic-toilet-paper-crisis/
    Sao Paulo-based Suzano SA produces a third of global supplies of the type of hardwood pulp that’s used to produce toilet papers and primarily ships it in cargo vessels known as break bulk. With demand surging for ships that carry ribbed steel containers, the squeeze is starting to spill over to break bulk and threatens to delay the company’s shipments, Suzano Chief Executive Officer Walter Schalka said in an interview.
    The container crisis, sparked by huge demand from China, has been playing out for months. But Suzano’s warning is among the first major signs showing the spillover into other shipping markets. If the squeeze continues to increase freight costs, it also raises the specter of accelerating inflation.

    In shipping, break bulk cargo or general cargo are goods that must be loaded individually, and not in intermodal containers nor in bulk as with oil or grain. Ships that carry this sort of cargo are called general cargo ships. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Break_bulk_cargo

  2. Update says:

    Reeling from the blockage in the Suez Canal, shipping rates for oil product tankers have nearly doubled this week, and several vessels were diverted away from the vital waterway as a giant container ship remained wedged between both banks.
    Shoei Kisen, Ever Given’s Japanese owner, denied a news report that it aimed to dislodge it by Saturday night, saying refloating efforts were ongoing.

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