Note: Today’s post is part of our “Editor’s Choice” series where we highlight recent posts published by our sponsors that provide supply chain insights and advice. Today’s article is from FourKites and examines ocean trends for 2021.
2020 was a tumultuous year for supply chains, and 2021 has certainly followed suit. With summer winding down, we take a look back at the major trends that occurred in ocean shipping in the first half of 2021 and reflect on what your organization can do to proactively prevent major supply chain disruption.
During the first six months of 2021, North America, Asia and Europe saw marked growth in shipment volume, with the highest increase seen in May. In June, shipments were up by 32% and 33% for Asia and North America, respectively, compared to January 2021.
Global ramifications of port congestion
Port congestion was a top challenge for international shippers for 2021, especially when it came to ports in California. In June alone, the Port of Los Angeles processed 876,430 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in June, a 27% increase compared to last year. The import dwell times at the Port of Long Beach fluctuated throughout the first half of 2021, with a high of 9 days.
In North America as a whole, we saw a 27% increase in delays from January to June 2021, in line with the increase in the number of TEUs in the Port of Los Angeles. In Asia, meanwhile, we saw an overall increase of 19% for the same time period in 2021.
What did these increases mean for shippers? Their containers took longer to reach the port of discharge and most likely accumulated demurrage and detention charges due to these delays.
Export dwell time in Asia, where many goods being transported to the US begin their journey, saw huge fluctuations in the first half of 2021. The Port of Yantian, which saw a logjam due to a recent COVID-19 outbreak, saw dwell times as high as 16 days for exports.
Another large source of disruption was the March blockage of the Ever Given vessel in the Suez Canal, which prevented goods from both entering and exiting the canal. As a result, shipments were delayed across all sectors. Across the FourKites platform, we saw late shipments spike the most in Retail sector (11%) during the week of the blockage. In the week following the initial blockage, Manufacturing and CPG saw reduction in late shipments during the next week of March 28, with a drop of 4% and 2%, respectively, while delays for Retail shipments continued to increase by 5%.
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