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01 December, 2021 Industry News

Shipping Rates Are Steady, but Other Concerns Arise for the Supply Chain

Shipping Rates Are Steady, but Other Concerns Arise for the Supply Chain

Read about what's happening in the shipping industry!

The latest data from maritime consultant company Drewry shows that the spot rate for containers has gone unchanged compared to the previous week, providing little relief for many businesses, as prices remain 224% higher than they were one year ago. Of the main routes tracked by Drewry’s World Container Index, only three showed changes, albeit very small. Shanghai to Rotterdam and Shanghai to New York both crept up 1%, while the only major route in the index that decreased was Rotterdam to New York, at 1%. Rotterdam to Shanghai, Shanghai to Genoa, Shanghai to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to Shanghai, and New York to Rotterdam all remained steady.

Congestion is another area that has seen little improvement over the last couple of weeks, mainly in the neighboring ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Recently, an agreement was reached between the US Navy and Port of Hueneme, which is just north of Los Angeles, to help relieve some of the congestion, especially during the upcoming holiday season. Under the agreement, the Los Angeles County Ports will have access to an area called Wharf 3 within the naval base, along with two buildings and around 31 acres of land. Normally this area is used by the Navy to house warships, but now it will be used to unload and store consumer products. Additionally, those ships that are waiting to unload and are carrying no more than 1,500 containers will be able to unload at the Port of Hueneme.

Apart from prices and congestion, leaders in the shipping industry are having some concerns about the upcoming labor contract negotiations in 2022 at already congested West Coast Ports in the US. The negotiations will take place between 70 employers from 29 ports up and down the west coast, and 22,400 dockworkers. In the past, these negotiations have led to delays and congestion, and leaders fear that an already stressed supply chain is at risk for even more problems if things become contentious. The talks are set to begin in early 2022 before the current collective bargaining agreement expires in July 2022.

On the other side of the Pacific, CNN Business reports that a growing number of ships in Chinese waters are disappearing from industry tracking systems, leading to an additional headache for the global supply chain. The data which is usually transmitted by container ships is used by the industry to track seasonal trends, predict vessel movement, and improve port efficiency, is now not appearing for the world’s second-largest economy. This lack of data could lead to more problems for a global supply chain that is already fragile.
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