Container shortages

The continuous problem of Container Shortages


At the end of September 2021 we were counting 54 vessels waiting outside Los Angeles/Long Beach – clearly the congestion problems continue to worsen and not improve (Source: vesselfinder.com).

In such a situation it is easy to draw the conclusion that the problem can solely be attributed to the port and the nominated port operator. Whilst port automation can facilitate the speed of discharging containers, the problem is a bit more challenging.


Some believe the problem is that we do not have enough containers. The number of containers in circulation is however projected at approx. 6,000,000 units - the problem is that they are not moving at the velocity needed to ensure that all markets have ready availability.


Consumers do not live near large ports, nor are warehouses and distribution hubs located inside the port areas. We typically find these locations far away from the port. Markets also differ in how containers are moved out from the ports. In some markets, the container trucks will have their own chassis and in other markets, the chassis is owned by other entities.


Warehouses typically have been structured for brick-and-mortar sales channels. When the lock-down happened