Container over-correction to stimulate trans-Pacific ocean freight between the world’s biggest trade partners, nagging labour lag at American ports compared to their Chinese counterparts, and disjointed box-and-ship flows could disrupt global containerisation until later this year.
According to Jeremy Nixon, CEO of Ocean Network Express (ONE), one of the biggest challenges facing trans-Pacific container movements at the moment is the significant difference between portside labour forces serving terminals in the US compared to those on the Chinese coast.
With working hours reduced by as much as 50% in the States, cargo vessels from China are delayed for up to 10 days along the western US coast.
Quoted by Splash 247 after speaking at the Trans-Pacific Markets (TPM) conference, the world’s biggest container gathering, Nixon said the working-hour disparity between the US and China had led to a dearth of box ships.
“We’re actually running out of ships in Asia.”
Speaking to Freight News recently, the head of corporate accounts at Investec for Business, Dr Greg Cline, said that lines diverting vessels and containers towards more prosperous trade routes meant schedule reliability and box availability issues had rippled across the globe, affecting trade to less-lucrative areas such as Africa.
“Trade volumes are starting to grow but the biggest concern within our client base is the availability of vessels, containers and the pricing thereof.”
Current supply chain challenges while the US and Chinese economies gather renewed pace after Donald Trump’s trade onslaught - and the impact of Covid-19 - are also not going away anytime soon.
Nixon told TPM attendees: “Frankly we’ve probably got another three to four months to work this through.
“Hopefully by the second half of 2021 we should see a more stabilised trade.”