Many ports of the West Coast have been hit hard; however, Los Angeles and Long Beach cargo offloaders service 40% of US imports. Walmart and other titan retailers are chartering their own massive cargo ships to ensure deliveries. Retailers and businesses are scrambling to snatch up railcar-sized shipping containers which laid dormant, mostly in China, during the pandemic.
The capacity to find workers without unreasonably inflating wages is a struggle for most businesses, big and small. Unemployment insurance has allowed consumer spending to continue without a corresponding upping of workers.
At one point, 62 ships floated impatiently in the Pacific.
The challenges lay, in part, with demanding a fast a zero-to-60 reboot for the entire supply chain; from smelted steel, to shipping containers, to managers of a single department store location knowing exactly how much to order.
Some of the cagey corporate forecasting has hit certain industry giants…
Nike shipments from Asia taking 80 instead of 40 days.
Ford and GM cutting production.
Costco and other huge retailers setting limits on certain consumer staples.
Inland and domestic shipping faces challenges once the freight is unloaded. Shortages of truck drivers to take goods inland has contributed to the problem as well. FedEx noted their Portland, OR hub was operating at two-thirds staff.
UK-based Daily Mail, in a long form report, cites Bloomberg Businessweek which gives a shocking summary:
“A 40-foot container cost less than $2,000 to transport goods from Asia to the U.S. two years ago. Today, the service could cost as much as $25,000 if an importer pays a premium for on-time delivery, which is a luxury, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.”
This shouldn’t be “shocking” to anyone. An total economic collapse has always been the goal of the Biden administration.
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