The delays that customers experience in light of congestion and capacity changes are one of the most important factors facing us at Coppersmith Global Logistics. We have had several customers and domestic agents ask for our help to find chassis, even if shipments are booked at carrier door delivery because the equipment is so tight. What has resulted is that in addition to the higher rates, the carriers are charging demurrage for containers that remain on their docks, even if they are not available. The FMC has been looking into these unfair trade practices, but there have been neither penalties enforced nor refunds given by the carriers.
The primary reason for the congestion is not completely due to the warehouses holding chassis, but that is definitely a contributing factor. The items we are seeing is the costs associated with shipping have more than doubled this year. The space on carriers is very tight and the booking process has a delay of a couple weeks before shipments can be confirmed and loaded.
Surging imports on the west coast complicate the congestion issues and equipment shortages. The influx of containers causes a bottleneck of shipments headed eastbound into the central U.S. and drives up rates and approximate delays. Holiday shipments are coming in heavier than usual with retailers worrying about receiving enough inventory to carry them through the season. The delays cause retailers to order more as they’re worried they won’t be able to replenish and understand that danger acutely after the panic buying most experienced in the early pandemic. Those concerns demand more inventory which brings in more containers, which cause more delays and though it appears to be a circular path, it’s more of a downward spiral into disruption.
It’s during these difficult times that it’s important to have the support of Coppersmith Global Logistics in your corner. We are working diligently on ensuring we can advise on equipment and routing to prevent delays in your shipment. It’s our mission to work on your behalf to try and prevent these issues from causing disruption in your supply chain.