Where Are All The Shipping Containers?

A critical shortage of shipping containers has led to a spike in cargo fees, which has sent shockwaves throughout global supply chains, and quite possibly the trend for shipping container retail outlets and housing developments that have been booming over the recent years.

While the stricken and now re-floated Ever Given mega-shipping container in the Suez Canal had caused major delays in shipping routes from the Middle East, blocking 12 per cent of the world’s seaborne trade, the cause of the shortage has been pinned on the impact of the pandemic.

While some regions around the world were in lockdown, some other regions had opened back up quickly, which has caused an imbalance in freight and commerce, and a host of ripple effects.

There is currently a 40 per cent imbalance, meaning that for every 100 containers received by countries in the west, only 40 shipping containers are sent back, while 75 per cent of those heading to Asia are sent back empty.

This has caused a huge issue, considering that around 40 per cent of imports to Europe and the US come from China, boosting the price of a container by 200 per cent over the last year.

The pandemic also caused a vast reduction in the number of new containers being ordered and manufactured, and data from international logistics firm Hillebrand has shown that globally, we’re scrapping more containers that are being produced, which has led to further shortages and corresponding price hikes.

According to Forbes, the bulk of the economic burden will fall on the shoulders of consumers, as prices of food and other staples increase.

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