Why it’s nearly impossible to get on a ship right now…

We wanted to share the below with all of our customers, as it illustrates quite clearly why importers today from Asia are scrambling to get on ships, and when they do, it’s only because they have accepted Premium rate levels that carriers have reintroduced.  Some of these all-in rates levels including the premium have approached $10,000 per 40’ container, depending on the origin and destination.

This is a chart of all the blanked sailings from week 13-16 (March 28-April 24).  In total, there are 20 blanked services – mostly due to the ship normally used on that service route is stuck in Long Beach, or Oakland, or Savannah or facing delays in returning from the Suez Canal blockage.

20 blanked services when demand for capacity is at an all-time high! And the services in red were just canceled in the last two days.

Everyone reading this blog and looking at the port pairs blanked will see themselves in there.  No routings have been spared, so whether you are importing to LA, Oakland, the PNW, Canada or the east coast all water, you’ll experience blanked sailings.  In some areas, it leaves carriers with only 1-2 services still in play for the entire month between key port pairs.

You know what it has been like the last 6-9 months and now it seems like we are experiencing the worst of it; the Suez Canal blockage pushed us over the edge.

And this is at the time when carriers, forwarders, and importers sign annual contracts locking in rate levels and capacity for the year.

When will this get better? 

 We may not see substantial improvement until after Lunar New Year 2022.  Really.  The market is at peak demand and 100% utilization and we expect this to continue through early 2022.  And it’s quite clear that any sudden setback or event (like the Suez blockage) will set us back months.

What to do?

Stay calm, take a breath, and engage even more closely with your internal stakeholders and external supply chain partners. We will be facing this disruption for some time – but working together we will get through this! For suggestions on how to address these challenges and more,  please find our SIX STEPS TO SUCCESSFULLY NAVIGATE THIS YEAR’S CONTRACT SEASON where you will find helpful recommendations and links to other resources.