If your company ships frequently, you might not even notice that we have crept into the holiday season. As the holidays approach, more and more packages are going to be shipped.
This increase is twofold; first people shipping gifts that they have purchased to their loved ones. Secondly, as the popularity of online shopping skyrockets, people rely more on shipping to get the gifts they have purchased to them.
This can cause congestion, delays, surcharges and other issues if you are attempting to ship, particularly if you are looking to ship internationally. The United States can be particularly tricky this time of year. Here are some things to look out for and good reasons why you should ship early.
With the increase in domestic shipping, many ports will become overwhelmed with cargo. This means that cargo is sitting on the docks, unloaded and backing up shipments coming from other places.
Two ports hit particularly hard are Los Angeles and New York-New Jersey. Reports out of those ports say that many containers are sitting for several days unloaded because there is simply no place to put them.
Many ports report chassis as being one of the major causes of congestion this time of year. Shipping carriers have sold their chassis to other companies who have chosen to lease them. This means more red tape in getting containers unloaded and on to trucks to be moved.
Congestion Leads to Surcharges
At times of high congestion, shipping lines will begin to charge a port congestion surcharge. This charge is generally on items that are being imported. Currently these surcharges are being linked to US ports on the west coast.
Current reports are saying that the surcharges can be as high as $1,300 USD for 45’ containers. This can add quite a bit to your shipping costs if you are moving a large shipment.
Remember to investigate the ports you are shipping into and inquire with your shipping line if they are currently charging a surcharge for your destination port. Make sure to do this before shipping so you can budget or charge your customers accordingly.
Shortages in Trucks and Drivers
One of the major causes of port congestion is a shortage of trucks and drivers. With rising costs in equipment, operating costs (fuel) and reductions in pay, many truck drivers are leaving the business for other professions.
This is leading to a shortage of available manpower to move items around once they have arrived at port. It can cause major delays in the arrival of your shipment. This is where shipping early can prevent a late delivery; these sorts of delays can be difficult to predict.
Cratex Group has seen these types of frustrations for shippers before. We can help accommodate you with short term warehousing and transloading services. Contact us today with any questions about shipping delays or port congestions!