An anonymous reader shares a report: By late January 2021, some 55 vessels were crowded around the LA and Long Beach ports, reportedly sitting in the ocean for up to two weeks. FreightWaves noted that it took longer for some of these ships just to get unloaded than it was for them to cross the Pacific. Why is there a delay to unload these ships? The boom in demand is, of course, one leading reason. American ports are also seeing a shortage of labor. There’s an ongoing shortage of the longshoremen who who undertake the critical task of getting these containers off the ship and onto trucks or trains. Dozens were quarantined due to the coronavirus at varying points last year.
Above all, when something goes astray with ocean shipping, there’s a major butterfly effect. A ship that’s unloaded two weeks late in Los Angeles is also going to be two weeks late when it arrives back in, say, Chittagong, Bangladesh to load up on IKEA furniture. The ship before that may have been two weeks late, too, so the carrier might just cancel the ship IKEA was expecting space on, Sundboell said. Then IKEA will have to scramble for another way to move your nightstand — and potentially every order they had after that, which will now be pushed down the road.
Halfway into 2021, the situation has not improved. There’s another shortage giving rise to our shortages: A lack of shipping containers. Or rather, a lack of containers where they need to be.