Global shipping has been facing erratic consumer demand, factory shutdown, and pandemic restrictions that have hampered port operations for months. As an outcome, empty containers are scarce where they are needed.
The Ever Given mishap has compounded the shortage as half of products passing through the canal are container ships. Due to the high volume of traffic, unloading has been delayed. Numerous ports are working at maximum capacity, but port storage fees grow, somewhat mitigating certain ports’ expenditures.
The ratio of ships in the port to those waiting gives a good idea of the ongoing congestion. Hong Kong, for example, has a 67% waiting ratio. Yantian has made good progress in clearing its backlog, whereas Oakland, Savannah, Seattle, and Vancouver have all achieved productivity levels over 65%.