Almost no businesses avoided supply-chain disruptions over the past years, and the container crisis was one of the major disruptions both for availability and, of course, the soaring cost of containers.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, the shipping industry was disrupted in various ways, to name a few: an increase in demand, ports lockdowns, long lead time for the production of new containers.
An article published a few weeks ago in South China Morning Post, was stating:
“About 90 percent of the world’s trade is transported by ships. When many countries went into lockdown in early 2020, restrictions on peoples’ movements resulted in significant changes in consumption patterns. Demand increased for certain goods, like home office supplies and electronics, many of which are made in China and other manufacturing hubs in Asia.”
And the demand increased significantly once the end-consumers have discovered the convenience of online shopping, converting it into a day-to-day habit. Changing consumption patterns in the United States has been driving up demand for shipping containers, and causing ships congestion in ports. These two factors led to a 100% increase in door-to-door average shipping time in December 2021, from Shanghai to Los Angeles, as compared to September 2019.
The infographic attached to this article displays the evolution of the door-to-door average shipping time, on the Shanghai – Los Angeles route, between September 2019 – December 2021 and what was the maximum number of days of congestion, in the port of Los Angeles, during the year 2021.
The outlook on 2022, seems to be optimistic, as per February 22, 2022, Bloomberg article:
“There are good operational reasons for optimism that L.A. and Long Beach will catch enough of a breather in the next four months. The number of inbound ships has fallen by about one-third since hitting an early-January peak of 109, stacks of long-dwelling containers are shrinking and omicron cases among dockworkers are fading.”
The question remains: will there be ripple effects that will influence this optimistic forecast, made two days before the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the supply chain related measures taken against Russia?