Container Import Surge Likely to Persist into 2022
Outlooks remain bleak for year-end supply chain stability. Sources ranging from American Shipper to the Wall Street Journal report that import congestion and container issues are likely to persist into 2022.
American ports are continuing to wrangle with unprecedented import volume. From Tacoma to Houston, terminals continue to break monthly records and exceed year-over-year volumes. On top of that, ripple effects from the partial closure of the Port of Yantian are making their way through other southern China regions. Backups and congestion are likely to affect situations across the pacific as well.
All the while, container rate growth is accelerating.
These trends fly in the face of a widely held sentiment — that import volumes will taper amid increasing vaccinations, easing pandemic restrictions, and increased service spending.
Despite Rise in Service Spending, Import Goods Still Surging
Service spending has indeed risen, with American Shipper reporting significant spikes in travel and dining expenditures. But goods spending and e-commerce have failed to decline accordingly. Shoppers continue to place online orders at a consistent clip while stateside inventories remain low. Consequently, the containers keep coming and rates keep growing.
Pre-Holiday Peak Still to Come
Without a drop in retail spending, import volumes will not falter and ports will not get a reprieve before the traditional peak season. Retailers typically boost orders starting mid-summer to help bolster inventories ahead of the holiday buying surge. That peak season volume is on our doorstep. Shippers, carriers, and ports will likely have to endure the supply chain bedlam through the end of the year.
Navigating Supply Chain Tumult
Persistently high container volumes alongside disruptions abroad create a challenging situation for importers. Whether securing vessel space or simply finding available equipment, maneuvering goods from terminal to terminal will come with obstacles. Scarbrough International will continue to help importers navigate through supply chain woes. Contact us or access CLARITY for further insight and assistance.