Carrying over from 2020, COVID continues to cause major issues to the Global Supply Chain. This shipping crisis is not only affecting the copier and printer industry but all industries who rely on products from outside the USA.
The root of the current problem is the massive surge in exports from Asia to the USA and Europe. Because the freight rates escalated so high (doubling and tripling), many ocean carriers are pushing empty containers rather than filling them completely.
Beyond the equipment issues, the vessel schedules continue to be disrupted, as well. At one point, there were over 90 container ships waiting to get into the LA/Long Beach Ports to unload their containers. This is more container ships at bay then the 28 vessels at anchor during the height of 2014-2015 labor union slowdown. This impacts all the rest of the port operations, from container dwell times at the terminals, truck turn times at the gates, street queues, chassis supply and so on. In addition as per Journal of Commerce reporting, labor supply is impacted heavily in the LA area due to mandatory covid safety quarantine requirements.
The current wait time for a container ship is approximately 9 -15 days. To further exacerbate the problem, if a crew member on a vessel tests positive for COVID, the vessel must be quarantined and cannot enter the port, again stranding containers on board and disrupting schedules.
Unloading ships is taking many more days than usual because crews on the piers are often limited due to COVID issues. Complete shifts have been canceled due to positive COVID results.
All of this congestion and waiting at the ports has resulted in reduced trucking capacity in most areas in the USA. Even with trying to maximize port turns using Saturdays, there are still significant delays and increased costs.
Because the economy appears to be rebounding, the National Retail Federation expects retail container imports to the U.S. to jump 23% in the first half of 2021.
So when will your new copier arrive? Unfortunately, we do not have exact timeframes. We are really only able to provide an estimated time of arrival (ETA) when the equipment is actually loaded on to a truck in California.
We thank all of our Doing Better Business Family of customers for continuing to choose us as your business partner. We will continue to keep you informed as more information becomes available to us. If you require a loaner until the new equipment arrives, please contact us.