World shipping is a complex business. I am no expert but I want to try and relay some of the problems we are experiencing at UPakWeShip in terms of delays and why they are happening.
Our problem in the USA and Europe at present is that we cannot get any space on ships to move our containers of your belongings between the USA and Europe and vice versa. This means our average transit times are not always being met and in some cases we are experiencing 4-5 week delays.
Whilst we apologize and rest assured we, like all other companies, are trying everything we can to get container bookings on ships, this is what we are up against in laymen terms at the moment.
When Covid struck last year the pandemic rippled across the globe, it interfered with typical seasonal patterns of global production and distribution. Factories closed, first in China and then elsewhere, as the world slipped into recession. Everyone was doom and gloom! Fewer ships arriving in U.S. Europe and UK ports meant fewer shipping containers available for the return trip to Asia. With department stores and other retailers closed by shutdowns, goods piled up at port terminals and warehouses. That made it harder for trucks to get into such facilities to pick up new loads and drop off empty containers, further clogging logistics channels. This was particularly apparent in Southampton and Felixstowe ports in the UK.
Shipping carriers initially idled vessels to match reduced demand.
But as we were stuck at home, the lucky ones who were still working had nothing else to do but buy stuff online! We began buying desks, computers, backyard tables and chairs and new TV’s and things for all kinds of DIY projects— and Chinese factories resumed back to normal operations — Asian exporters clamored for space aboard cargo ships. The sudden changes played havoc with supply chains. Shipping prices went through the roof with some routes seeing freight rate increases of 80%!
That abrupt and unprecedented spending shift has re invented long-standing trade patterns, causing bottlenecks from the gates of Chinese factories to western consumers.
At the Port of Los Angeles there has been 30-60 ships anchored offshore, waiting to unload their cargoes, even as every warehouse within 60 miles is already full. A shortage of port workers and truckers amid California’s worsening coronavirus outbreak is further complicating operations.
Since there is now more demand to send goods from China to the United States than to ship in the other direction, some ocean carriers — after delivering their cargoes to west coast ports are refusing to wait for their containers to be reloaded with U.S. exports before returning them to China. They are loading up with empties and going full speed ahead back to China to collect more lucrative full containers at the highest shipping rates possibly ever!
Also a large number of empty containers are still detained at ports where they shouldn’t be, but are unable to get re positioned at an acceptable rate as ships are full with high revenue loaded cargo. These shortages of empty containers at required locations like in the USA, UK and Europe are causing severe constraints to transport goods and delays in shipping and deliveries.
Just in case you are wondering, Air freight isn’t really an option for household goods either. With COVID-19 vaccines now in mass production and distribution, the air cargo capacity is consumed by vaccine movements and the movement of any urgent cargo by air is very costly and unpredictable.
So the result of all this is full ships, very few empty containers available for re loading for export from the USA, Europe and the UK, a lack of port workers and truckers due to Covid.
This is the reason from what I can figure out that is causing delays in our shipping services. Our shipping team is trying their best to get containers moving but please be patient until this all gets resolved.