Record-breaking Box Demand, Stranded Containers Lead to Worst Shipping Delays in Years

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Last month, a series of COVID-19 outbreaks in Chinese ports caused the worst shipping delays in years, the impacts of which we will likely still be feeling by the time the holiday season arrives. But port closures are only part of the story behind the recent shipping delays impacting virtually every sector, from furniture deliveries to food product shortages. Shipping containers, especially refrigerated ones, have been extremely hard for manufacturers and distributors to find and fill with goods over the past few months. A key element of the supply chain, shipping containers transport large volumes of goods along global shipping routes. Problems first arose in early 2020 when shipping lines canceled some routes amid growing COVID-19 case numbers worldwide, but shipping container availability worsened as unpredictable port closures, the Suez Canal blockage, and intensifying labor shortages left containers stranded. As a result, international freight costs have also grown dramatically, with limited availability, lengthy delays, and lackluster service causing issues throughout the global supply chain.

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