The Global Shipping Crisis continues to affect supply chains around the world and shows very little sign of abating. There has been an increase in exposure due to mainstream media now picking up on the fact the Christmas will be disrupted by supply issues. Talk of no Christmas presents and empty shelves has perhaps sharpened the focus of government departments and shed light on the current situation. The ACCC is currently conducting an enquiry on possible price gouging and investigating if anti-competitive conduct has led to the exorbitant price rises on the Australian waterfront.
Port congestion around the world continues to be a major problem. Labour shortages to unload the containers at the wharf and continued labour issues in the trucking sector has impacted on getting the containers off the wharf when they are unloaded. Currently there are over seventy container ships waiting to berth on the west coast of the USA and around one hundred vessels in the same situation around China. This means we have containers on ships that should otherwise be in circulation around the world, the shortage of equipment and the continued increase in demand will continue to drive freight prices up.
The general consensus is that freight prices will eventually stabilise and reach a more acceptable level mid next year. When more and more countries open up due to rising vaccination rates, consumer spending will return to travel, restaurants and entertainment and shift away from the current personal, home and office goods. This will relieve some pressure on global supply chains once we all return to some sort of normal.
In the meantime, it is important to forward plan and minimise the impact of global shipping issues on your business, allow for booking and vessel delays and build these factors into your lead times. The world’s supply chains have never been under this extreme stress, there is a real need to protect your business by implementing systems that will cope with the current circumstances.
Trade Consultant and Compliance Specialist