Further to today’s article on the global supply chain crisis, another serious constraint is the availability of empty containers.

The volume of full containers either in vessels outside the Los Angeles ports, on vessels still at sea or staged in terminals at the two ports means there is a very limited supply of empty containers available for return to Far East ports.

Similar constraints are occurring at UK ports where Immingham has passed capacity with Maersk vessels by-passing the port.

Like South Africa, the US experiences a considerable imbalance of 12m v 6m containers.

Imports are largely in 12m containers with limited demand for 12m full exports. This results in the need to constantly feed empties on return voyages.

Whilst incoming vessels experience long delays capacity for empty returns is restricted.

This shortage of available empties now has a global impact, it is being felt in Durban where local agents particularly for the Far East services are pressured to evacuate as many empties as possible.

Needless to say, this supply shortage matched with high demand is another cause of freight rates reaching levels never previously experienced.

Information Courtesy Of SAAFF.