Beware, There is a Shipping Container Shortage
We often see shipping containers stacked in big towers at the docks, being pulled by the hundred on freight trains, so we tend to think of them as being available in limitless numbers. After all, it’s rare that you just see one or two at a time, it’s usually dozens and dozens of them at once, whole cities worth of shipping and storage containers.
But that’s not the reality on the market right now. In fact, if you go looking for shipping containers for sale, you’re likely to see the prices steadily rising at the moment, and continuing to rise at least until 2022, and possibly well beyond.
A Large-Scale Problem
Shipping companies have been stuck waiting weeks on end for their containers to arrive, and often wind up paying premium prices just to get their hands on them.
In Singapore, Ikea is experiencing what they call a global transport crisis, with around ten percent of all products affected by shipment delays relating to the shortage. Alibaba have actually launched their own shipping container booking service through Cainiao, their logistics arm, in order to address the shortage.
This is the kind of issue that we tend not to think about on a daily basis. It’s easy to understand a shortage of coffee beans or sugar, but shipping containers?
However, the shipping container shortage affects everything else, having a ripple effect on agriculture, tech, consumer goods, and the automotive industry.
In order to get where its going, goods need to be packed and shipped, and the only reasonable way to do that at scale is with shipping containers.
So, if shipping containers are in short supply, then so is everything else. Or at least, everything that isn’t sourced from within a couple hundred miles of where you currently live and work.
By the end of last year, freight rates from China to Europe and the US had gone up to three times the usual rate from March, with Redwood Logistics’ Mark Yeager saying that they were now paying a spot rate of $6,000 to ship a container, when the usual price was closer to $1,200.
Unfortunately, this is not the spike. Give it another year and prices may double or triple all over again, as the global pandemic that has caused the shortage is showing no signs of stopping right away.
While vaccines are being rolled out and industry is slowly bouncing back, we’ve still got a way to go. Complications regarding the pandemic only worsen the matter. As the Delta variant causes county and state-wide lockdowns throughout the country and misinformation regarding the vaccine’s spreads, it may not even be the case that we’re over the hump just yet.
If you’re wondering how the pandemic is to blame for a shipping container shortage, it breaks down like this: back in 2019 and the start of 2020, Asian shipping companies dropped containers full of goods off in the US and throughout Europe. Normally, the shipping companies would be back around to pick the empty containers up for reloading within a month or two. But, when the lockdown hit, those Asian companies weren’t able to come pick the containers back up.
So now the US and Europe have tons and tons of shipping containers in their ports, but those containers belong to Chinese and Indian shipping companies and can’t be resold. The Chinese and Indian shipping companies have goods that need to be transported, but they don’t have enough containers to move the goods.
But What If You Need a Shipping Container Now?
In short, anyone looking for shipping containers for sale is only going to find themselves paying more than they would have the month before. Complicating matters further, there’s been a trade surplus going on right now. This means that while supply is dwindling, demand is skyrocketing.
However, Aztec Container has a large variety and inventory of shipping containers available. Aztec Container is a leader in the sales and rental of steel ISO shipping containers, storage containers, custom office containers, and CONNEX box sea containers.
You’ll find 10-foot, 20-foot, 40-foot shipping containers. Most can be customized with an endless number of options like roll up doors, office doors, vents, windows, electrical, air conditioning & heating, insulation & drywall.