English English Italian Italian Korean Korean Spanish Spanish

How the Shipping Crisis Is Affecting US Ocean Ports

Shipping and logistics operations can change rapidly, so there can easily be new updates on a consistent basis. As 2023 begins, leaving 2022 behind, you may be wondering what new changes and updates there are regarding the current status of the global shipping crisis spurned on by the COVID-19 pandemic. While struggles to regain footing in specific logistic and economic areas continue, there continue to also be consistent efforts to adapt to these ever-changing circumstances and continue to make positive progress toward reliable transportation movement, especially in major port areas such as US ocean ports.

Some of the most heavily affected ports continue to be the major US ports that many businesses worldwide depend on on a daily basis. In this article, we’ll discuss the current state of US shipping and port congestion, if and why the cargo ships are backed up still, how the shipping crisis is affecting US ocean ports currently, and how Heavy Weight Transport is helping.

The Current State of US Shipping and Port Congestion

2022 faced exceptionally tight capacities and container rates. Toward the latter half of the year, prices began to quickly fall, according to market reporters. Significant market volatility continues to disturb the container shipping industry as a whole. There is a consistent oversupply of shipping containers, as well as an influx of more TEUs as we head further into 2023. Various shipping lines continue to reduce vessel capacities and suspend service offerings by considerable blank sailings.

There will likely continue to be capacity adjustments on services from Asia to Europe, North America, and the Mediterranean to align with the fluctuations in demand. Market observers see a similar trend echoing in the industry as a whole. As we move further into 2023, there may be a possibility of an all-out price war. While elevated logistics costs contributed to inflation in the previous couple of years during the pandemic, ocean prices have since been declining.

With the volumes of imported shipping containers coming into the US continuing to decline, port congestion has continued to significantly ease alongside it. This declined congestion is especially significant in Los Angeles and Long Beach, where congestion has gone back to previously normal levels as of late November. Data exhibits that rates to ship a 40-foot container from Asia to the US West Coast, for example, has come down by over 80% as of late April.

Prices to the US East Coast have decreased by nearly two-thirds. Consumer spending is a considerable influence in decreasing logistics costs, responsible for previously increasing sales among importers over the course of the previous couple of years. As of November, freight rates have fallen by around 21%, the reported lowest level since around December 2020. There has been an increase in blank sailings. Spot rates have fallen significantly for all ex-Asia lanes as demand slowed and congestion decreased.

shipping and port congestion

Why are the Cargo Ships Backed Up?

Around the first quarter of last year, dozens of freight container ships were sitting off the coast of California waiting to offload cargo at either the Los Angeles or Long Beach ports, US’s largest ocean ports. If you were unable to find a specific item you were looking for in a store at the time, you may have decided to look for and order it online. However, this put an even larger demand on importers, further leading to increased backorders.

If you found yourself asking, “Why are the cargo ships backed up?” in the last couple of years, the answer was largely the rapidly increasing consumer demand for products in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There was also unprecedented demand for specific goods, causing quick back-ups and port congestion in 2020, which flowed into 2021 and 2022. Container ships were unable to offload cargo at a pace matching demands, further causing a logjam. 

While the three main contributors to the previous backup were port congestion, the ship logjam, and a shortage of shipping containers to match demand, 2023 is looking tentatively more hopeful. As we move farther into 2023 and existing efforts to decrease and maintain port congestion levels continue, involved parties continue to adapt and change. Many shipping and logistics activities and other details continue to change as a result of the experiences at ports, warehouses, and more during the previous couple of years. Now, the occurrence of backups continues to lessen, and any present back-ups are considerably lessened in comparison to previous years’ reported levels, with a likelihood of continuing on this trend. While there was a previous shortage of shipping containers, there is currently an excess. However, many business owners are still experiencing an abundance of inventory that may continue to slow the influx of new inventory. 

heavy weight transportation

How Heavy Weight Transport Is Helping

As 2023 continues and we move away from previous overwhelmingly high volumes of consumer demand and ships waiting at ports, we have seen continuous changes in the present struggles at US port locations. Some of the main present struggles in the early months of 2023 are an abundance of shipping containers, unpredictable consumer demand, a potential price war, and a struggle to move older inventory to make room for new. When you need quality, reliable services from a shipping and logistics company in the US, Heavy Weight Transport is here for you.

We are a top choice for overweight shipping, drayage transportation, reliable warehousing, and container tracking at several major port locations. Port areas we provide services at include New York, Charleston, Savannah, Houston, and Los Angeles. We can make a significant impact for your efforts and budget during this uncertain time. With our attuned services, you can save money and time in many ways.

Heavy Weight Transport Can Help You

There are many ways the continuing shipping crisis is affecting US ocean ports in a consistently fluctuating and unpredictable manner. With Heavy Weight Transport, you can save money and time with our overweight shipping service, multiple cross-dock warehouses and terminals, chassis and tractor telemetry with GPS, strategic transloading, and performance-proven drayage.