As much as we hear about the delays on the US West Coast regarding ocean freight, the focus on retail goods does a disservice to the issues coming up for other cargo including granite shipments from India. Following the pandemic explosion of e-commerce, home improvement spending experienced a 3% increase as people stuck at home devote time to improving their surroundings. Like other heavy load cargo, granite shipments travel in custom-built boxes that are steel reinforced to handle up to 29 tons.
Most of the news has been regarding the Asia to US West Coast cargo traffic that’s experiencing a boom and subsequent bottleneck, there are other locations having issues, including India. The uptick in pandemic cases as variants run through the nation are putting labor stress on the shipping industry and the ports are struggling to catch up from the Ever Given situation weeks back. Ships that were supposed to call ports in India weeks ago are just now showing up, impacting the flow of traffic.
We’re also seeing huge delays in Brazil as many feeder vessels have been grounded due to Covid outbreaks which causes the mother vessels to be delayed or diverted, creating delays of up to 45-60 days from Vitoria. These delays are expected to compound the problems we have with securing space and equipment until the sailings get back on track.
Not only does the container imbalance touch the retail sector, but with a smaller pool of appropriate boxes to haul granite, creative solutions are necessary to procure the equipment needed to move specialty freight on-time. Some carriers are relying on road flips, trading standard containers for reinforced ones as a barter-system that shows desperation in procuring containers. Obviously the issues with equipment extend past granite, retail and even the containers themselves as chassis, trucks and capacity is just as problematic lately.
Moving granite and other specialty or project cargo isn’t as flexible as standard containers. Infrastructure improvements have allowed ports like Norfolk, VA to become a hub for heavy shipments with reinforced cranes and trucks that specialize in heavy haul. For Coppersmith, that works in our favor – smaller, east coast ports are less packed and experience fewer bottlenecks in their transportation abilities. While the container shortage is everywhere, we can save time by utilizing some creative routing to ports like Norfolk and Savannah, GA.
It’s more important than ever to have a professional logistics provider working with your supply chain. These are unprecedented times in shipping and the delays and issues are going to take teamwork and understanding to navigate. After seven decades of serving the logistics industry, we have a lot of experience and memories, yet still we’ve never seen anything quite like the current situation. That being said, we aren’t deterred about the rebound we expect this year. Coppersmith depends on our longstanding relationships and expert partners around the world, as we work together, unified in providing the best possible service to our clients nationwide.
If you need expert assistance with your granite imports or have other unique cargo requirements, your Coppersmith representative is standing by, ready to show you seven decades worth of success.