Port delays have continued to worsen as time runs short for retailers trying to stock up on inventory for the winter holiday rush, statistics from a new report show.
Triggered by the rush to stockpile goods and exacerbated by variables like pandemic labor issues and a long-term e-commerce boom, the trend has led to an imbalance between inbound and outbound shipping containers.
By one data point, the flow of inbound containers entering the Port of Los Angeles increased 60% for August 2021 as compared to the same month last year, according to Container xChange, a Hamburg, Germany-based neutral, online platform for container logistics.
That surge has created the highest differential at that California facility than at any port tracked by Container xChange over the past three years, the company said. Specifically, the firm’s container availability index (CAx) for the port of Los Angeles is now at 0.88 for 20-foot containers and 0.90 for 40-foot containers, where 0.50 is the balance of inbound and outbound containers and anything greater than 0.50 represents a surplus of containers at a given port.
“The all-time high in cargo congestion at the U.S. West Coast ports are a result of the global supply chain disruption and its domino effect. The ever-higher imports owing to higher demand, grappling with the infrastructural and human resources struggles are further adding to the stratospheric congestion which is ultimately leading to further delay in vessel arrival,” Container xChange’s co-founder and CEO, Christian Roeloffs, said in a release.
In addition to causing congestion, that condition will likely lead to higher demurrage and detention charges, higher spot rates and surcharges, and intermodal delays, Roeloffs said.