The current container shortage is not due to an underinvestment in the equipment fleet, but instead has been caused by the extended time containers are spending in transit. This is according to Drewry, the maritime research and consulting services provider.
The increased cargo demand and ongoing disruption across global supply chains means containers are taking longer to complete voyages, and delays are resulting in inefficiencies within the container fleet.
Blank sailings have disrupted the recycling of empty containers, leading to many being in the wrong place. Furthermore, increased congestion in Europe and North America has further exacerbated the situation, as well as disruptions such as the Suez Canal blockage, temporary closures of ports in China and staff shortages.
Drewry’s research suggests port capacity will be unable to keep pace with rising cargo demand, which would mean an ongoing issue with container cycle times. The typical cycle time for a container across the global fleet has increased from an average of 67 days pre-pandemic to 72 days.
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