With a 19% surge in imports from China to US and a 19% fall in exports to China in June-July, we are experiencing a situation that is growing with no sign of immediate relief.

As a result of the early summer surges, an alarming trend in equipment shortages that started in August is expected to last until mid to late October. Carriers are facing shortages of all container sizes, with the most popular 40’ HQ at the head of the line.  Exports from China to India and SE Asia are also down contributing to the growing imbalance.

Some of the ramifications of the imbalance include later releases of equipment at origins, as well as missed sailings, which many shippers have already reported experiencing.

We are also seeing additional costs at origin, including higher ocean freight costs, which are a result of containers having to gate-in later (potentially subject to another GRI), as well as less free time at destination as carriers – who typically offer ten free days off port – have reduced this number to four in an attempt to get the empties turned around quickly. There is another maybe not-so-obvious problem due to equipment being sparse: carriers may offer shippers poorer quality of equipment.

What can shippers/importers do? 

  • We encourage you to communicate to your shippers in terms of booking and picking up equipment as early as possible.
  • Be extra cautious when inspecting the empty container’s quality at terminal prior to gate-out for loading.

As always, please be sure to communicate the need-by dates to your Global Logistics Experts at Shapiro. We can provide creative and viable options to help meet your delivery requirements!

Shapiro is monitoring the situation and will provide updates as they become available.