shipping supply chain

Shipping Delays Persist Thanks to Container Imbalance and Other Factors

As the world begins to emerge from the pandemic, there’s a lot of pent-up shopping demand. People saved their money at record-breaking rates, and now they’re ready to start spending again. Unfortunately, the massive desire for goods that originate in China is putting additional strain on an already taut supply chain – and all that demand may not be easily met.

The problem isn’t the goods themselves; it’s the shipping containers by which they’re transported. There’s isn’t exactly a shortage, it’s more that the containers the world needs aren’t in the places they need to be. “The story of the last 16 months is a growing container imbalance,” said Harvard Business School professor Willy Shih. “What you see is a messy buildup of containers in places where they’re not supposed to be.”

The result is wait times of up to three weeks for containers to become available – even after goods are ready at the factory.

On top of this, container shipping rates continue to climb to unprecedented levels. The Seattle Times reported that the spot rate for a 40-foot container from Shanghai to Los Angeles jumped to $9,631 – that’s 229% higher than it was just a year ago. The price increased 5% just over the last week.

Adding to the challenge are other unforeseen circumstances: Heat waves in British Columbia and the western US have contributed to delays. Wildfires stemming from the heat have hampered rail carriers’ abilities to move goods eastward. Thousands of cars sit idle while repairs to damaged, unsafe rails are underway.

The unfortunate result is that product may now take up to three months to be delivered from factory to customer dock. Even when the product rolls off our lines on-time or early, transit times have increased three-fold since the pandemic began.

At Avnan, we have always believed in complete transparency, and we’ll continue to keep you apprised of how these delays may affect any projects you have with us. While these current conditions are out of our control, we are taking steps to mitigate them by adjusting our factory build dates where possible. We’ll also provide you with options to ensure that you always have the stock you need to maintain production.

Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns that you may have. We understand that this is challenging for you, and we appreciate your ongoing business and understanding.

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