Congestion still cripples the coasts

We’ve noted previously the issues happening on the U.S. West Coast as imports soar and containers flood into ports, ready to hit store shelves in time for the holiday season. After a wobbly start to the year as Chinese Lunar New Year shut down the factories and the coronavirus pandemic kept everyone in a global limbo, carriers were blanking sailings left and right to avoid a slump in the market, expecting, erroneously, that shipping would have the bottom drop out. The opposite occurred as people had no entertainment, more money, and more time to online shop during the spring, summer, fall, and probably winter now if behavior holds. No, we don’t expect the congestion and equipment issues to shore up before February as that’s the next Lunar New Year.

There are options to route freight differently into the U.S. using smaller ports like Norfolk, Houston, or Seattle to avoid the hot spots of container congestion. With strong relationships and carrier connections for our customers, Nelson International can work with your suppliers to adjust the shipping details to avoid the most problematic areas.

Equipment issues are a bigger problem in many areas as the imports are turning back empty containers without refilling them with exports to save time loading and unloading in Asia. Instead, the empties can just immediately be loaded with more imports destined to the United States shores. We heartily recommend giving us the most advanced notice you can so we have time to source and procure the equipment you need. There’s no substitute for preparation and prompt loading times as waiting and detention are brutal in this situation.

When we’re facing such wildly turbulent times in the ocean freight market, you need a strong industry partnership working on your behalf. Nelson International has the experience, background, and training to help you weather the perfect storm hitting our shores. You don’t have to navigate alone, reach out to your Nelson representative, and see the solution we can build to suit you!