Container congestion

There are clear signs that the container market has plateaued, at least for now:

But there are little interest in the plans for 24 hr. pickup operation at Long Beach Port:

If anybody were in doubt; we live in a interdependent world were problem in one part of the world affect all other parts:

No the solution is NOT Isolation but effectivization and cooperation across the world.
(I.e. “Me Too”, not “Me First”)

The horror, the world was about to run out of Coca-Cola!!!
Thanks heaven, some smart brains figured out that it was possible to ship things without sticking it in containers:

Maybe Coca-Cola is on to something chartering bulkers to haul cargoes. Maybe old is new again. A fleet of tramp coastal lighters to move some traffic to smaller ports with less congestion. Or even pull old tramp break bulk freighters back into service. Less efficient but likely doubles the ports they could discharge at. And it helps with China’s supposed shortage of containers.
Just a romantic pipe dream after too much coffee on the night watch.

There are quite a few geared bulk carrier, container feeders and some modern MP tween-deckers around, both in Europe and Asia, that could be used in Trans-Pacific and Asia-Europe trade. In fact that is already happening today.
Not as economical as using mega container ships on trunk lines between mega ports and feeder from there to smaller ports, which is common practice in Europe and Asia. Apparently not possible to do on any large scale in the US (??)

One of the problems appears to be on the shore side, with slow pickup and delivery from the ports to final destination and slow distribution/return of empty containers to where they are needed.

Nobody want to see full shiploads of empty containers being carried across oceans. Neither can you assume that the shipping companies can wait for their boxes to be returned, full or empty, without compensation for costs and delays.

The reality is that there are no equality in the amount of cargo suitable for container transport that is transported between continents and countries, thus some empties will always be carried. The present situation is extreme, however.

There are enough shipping capacity available to carry the boxes available, but at the moment a large % of the ships are sitting waiting outside ports all over the world for various reasons.

The problem is not only with the shipping companies and is not solved by bringing in more ships that is dependent on the same container terminals to load and discharge.
Nor is the solution to pass ineffectual laws in individual countries, but to improve both the port efficiency and the shoreside distribution network in ALL countries.

Effective short sea feeder network that keeps main terminals from clogging up with boxes waiting for transshipment to domestic and regional ports helps, where it exists.

A Norwegian company Gearbulk had Conbulkers with two gantry cranes and holds dimensioned for containers can load and discharge containers very efficiently.
https://www.gearbulk.com/fleet/ships/open-hatch-gantry-crane/6th-generation/

Why not? If you manufacture in the Far East and must deliver in Old Europe, there is no no need to use expensive liner shipping. Better is Norwegian tramps. It worked well in the 1970’s when I was there.

Having self-unloading container ship solves the problem of sidelined container ships only as long as it takes to fill up a container terminal with containers. You still need chassis and tractors to haul them some place, and these are in short supply also, as are truck drivers.

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Yes the whole chain have to be strengthen to get an efficient transport system
Using all available modes of transport to bring containers from ports to consignees and return, whether full or empty, is necessary to obtain this efficiency.

Transporting containers by feeder ships between primary and secondary domestic ports to cut down on road and rail transport distance would help.
US, like Europe and China, has long coast lines and navigable rivers that could be put to good use to improve efficiency. (+cut down on emission and road congestion)

Feeder lines and short sea shipping are a great idea until you realize we don’t have truck drivers. A whole cohort of middle aged to Social Security aged drivers are hanging up the hat and retiring, at least here in the US. The supply chain needs all links functioning to pull the load.

Small capacity vessels are used on long haul routes:

This is even by a US company doing cross trading.

Small feeder on the cheap;
image

A bit more “sophisticated” short sea feeder, NCL Ålesund,


She is in the R’dam -West Norway trade and a regular here in Ålesund.
http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=3341053

The company I work for hauls palletized cargo. No containers. We’re the belle of the ball these days, if you want to haul cargo from Dutch Harbor to Seattle. Luckily, once unloaded here, most of that cargo moves out across the country via trailers and railcars, and relatively little in containers. Goes as far as New England. Lucky too we have our own rail siding and locomotive to shift around rail cars on the property, because UP/BN locos are busy also. Interesting to see how customers have quickly changed their patterns in cross country transportation. It will change back of course.

This is 20 years old but probably hasn’t changed much in terms of routing.

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I forgot to mention the Middle East, which is also a busy area for feeders:

Will COSCO be able to save Christmas for American consumers??:

The problem is worldwide and spreading:

Some shipping companies send mega ships from Europe to Far East with nothing but empties at high cost to themselves.
They gain back the losses by high freight rates for loaded containers on the return trip.

In March it was the other way around:

Container shortage affect India as well:

Exporters in NZ are struggling to obtain integral containers for exports. The yards are chocked with empty generals.

Most Of the Container Shipping & Freight Marketplace has got affected again with the incident of Container & port Congestion as it has increase the Freight rates and Increase the backlogs at the Port as container are stacked in US west Coast ports and Eurpoean Ports. The Terminal operators think placing container boxes on trailers is preferable because it saves time when the truckers arrive to collect them. The downside is that the parked trailers block the terminals. These problems have affected nearly every industry that relies on the shipment of goods over long distances