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Container Shortages Causing Delays

We have reported regularly over the past several months of the chronic shortage of containers in China and South East Asia.  Unfortunately, the situation has not improved and given the current shortages delays to shipments being  exported from China will continue in the lead up to and beyond  the Chinese New Year.

All carriers report severe shortages of the popular 40ft High-Cube (HC) containers at their depots and there has also been a run on 40ft standard boxes.  Even 20ft containers are now showing as unavailable.

Reports from global organizations like Container xChange indicate that container availability continues at record lows across China. They further add : “Due to the fast increase in demand after months of blank sailings, container availability for 40ft HC’s across China is currently at just 0.05 CAx points, compared with 0.63 at the same time last year.”  A reading above 0.5 indicates a surplus, below suggests a deficit.

We have previously  advised that this is a problem caused by global disruptions to shipping resulting in containers left idle in importing countries like Europe, USA , New Zealand and of course Australia. Empty containers in Australia are locked in empty depots and have even been  forced to wait at trucking companies’ facilities while terminals operators  work through reducing delays in their terminals by reducing the number of container exchanges on vessels.

Europe, and in particular UK, has  again been  impacted by new waves of COVID 19 that has slowed down terminal operations and has severely impacted on the availability of drivers to move containers on and off terminals.  United States have the same levels of delay being caused by port congestion (i.e., longer time to process a vessel in port and shortages of trucks , chassis and drivers caused by COVID 19).

We have advised that carriers are reducing the amount of full containers they are loading for exports in EU, USA and AU preferring to sweep through with empty container loadings. This allows faster access to the containers on arrival into China and other Asian ports.

Despite the efforts of carriers to re-position containers to China there is still the above major deficit.  The above global factors are not going to improve in the near future so we will see these shortages continues well into this year.

We were initially reporting in August /September 2020  that CMA-CGM /ANL were the most impacted however now all carriers face equipment shortages and this unprecedented problem is reported widely through different publications. 

Please know that ACA International continues to work hard to ensure equipment is available at the time of your shipment  however there are factors that we cannot control and there will be delays to your shipments over the coming months.