Equipment shortages are contributing to capacity constraints, and this is pushing spot rates higher. Exporters in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Taiwan, and Vietnam are having trouble securing 40-foot and 40-foot high-cube containers, Poskus said. In the US gateways, it’s a chassis shortage or dislocation problem, mostly in Los Angeles and Long Beach, but more recently in Oakland as well, he said.
Bennett said there are sporadic shortages of drayage drivers serving some Southern California transloading facilities, which are struggling to attract enough warehouse workers during COVID-19 to handle increased volumes. The problem is compounded for shipping the 53-foot transloaded containers to the US interior by a shortage of domestic containers, he said.
“There’s a lack of domestic capacity, and it’s creating a severe backlog,” Bennett said. Chassis shortages and domestic equipment shortages are having a “backup effect” that is reverberating throughout the supply chain in Southern California, he said.
McElroy said the import surge is showing no immediate signs of tapering off. “The strength of this market will continue into September,” he said.
Carriers have announced only three more blank sailings to the West Coast and three to the East Coast in August and September, which should relieve some of the vessel capacity issues in Asia, Sea-Intelligence Maritime Analysis said.