Shipping Container Shortages May Last Until Christmas

The bottlenecks in the global shipping freight system could last until Christmas, a report in The Guardian warns. A combination of delays caused by the pandemic, and further glitches in the logistics network in the UK, have led to a mounting crisis situation in the industry.

Many container vessels are stuck outside ports around the world waiting for berth, and thousands of shipping containers are either sitting empty in the wrong place, or waiting for days on end to be unloaded. Fresh outbreaks of Covid in China have exacerbated the delays.

Gary Grant, founder of The Entertainer chain of toy shops, told the Guardian that half the year’s turnover is made in the last quarter of the year. In anticipation of the expected backlog, they have already stocked up warehouses to full capacity. He advises parents to buy now if their children have asked for a particular brand of toy or game for Christmas.

 However, even the large businesses who are stockpiling are struggling to find extra warehouse space. Grant said: “We as a company probably have 200 containers-worth of made stock in China, but we can’t get the containers to transport them.” 

He added: “I’m only moving half the number of containers a week at this time of the year than I would expect to move. In the UK, it will mean that there will be more stock shortages this Christmas than we’ve had for many, many years. Toys are one of the commodities that will be affected by this.”

In the UK, the logistics supply chain is under further strain from a shortage of lorry drivers. Some drivers have left the industry due to the pandemic and Brexit, while the training and testing of potential new drivers is facing a backlog, which built up during the lockdown restrictions. It is thought the disruption may last well into next year.
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