- The congestion that started at the Yangshan Port in Shanghai as a side effect of new alliances plus fog is spreading throughout the supply chain, to other ports worldwide, according to various outlets.
- The Chinese ports at Qingdao and Nibo are seeing a shortage of containers, which is hampering movement, Splash 24/7 reported. Maersk, HMM, MOL and Yang Ming have reportedly alerted clients of the issue and pledged to resolve the crisis.
- Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Port of Seattle had to clear out old containers in anticipation of the new, a process that has created truck traffic jams, Komo News reports.
If there was ever any doubt about the global nature of supply chains, the after-effects of new shipping alliances shows how congestion in one area or changes in the high seas can cause a ripple effects of delays across the world.
The root causes of the problem appear to be caused by the arrival of ultra-large container vessels at ports that did not previously receive them, an overall route change for dozens if not hundreds of ships, confusion over line mergers, and an excess or lack of containers at other ports to service the new routes. The issue has so far caused a capacity crunch and stranded shipments along Asia-Europe trade lanes, congestion at the Yangshan port, and now elsewhere.
Carriers assure the effects are not chronic, and in fact, congestion in Yangshan is already decreasing, according to JOC.com. In fact, the congestion may have been aggravated by an increase in imports to China, further complicating the adjustment process for dockworkers.
However, as big ships prepare to arrive in the East Coast next week, and West Coast ports struggle to adjust to their own changes, it seems likely similar problems will affect U.S. East Coast ports in the coming months.