The Effects of COVID-19 on the Container Industry

December 2, 2021 12:53 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The coronavirus pandemic took a drastic toll on us all. Even if you or someone you know didn’t catch the virus, you probably still felt the pandemic’s worldwide economic effects. Some industries were impacted worse than others, and that’s especially true for the shipping container business and the global supply chain as a whole.

Keep reading to learn more about this shortage and what the future for shipping container prices looks like in Houston, TX.

Did COVID-19-19 cause a shipping container shortage in Houston, TX?

What seems like a simple shortage at first glance isn’t the full story. There are still plenty of shipping containers worldwide. Unfortunately, many of those containers are in the wrong places. When COVID-19 restrictions shut down Asian ports, hundreds of thousands of containers were left stranded across the globe.

Normal procedures would be for ships to pick up containers from the Americas or Europe and bring them back to Asia to be restocked. From there, the containers would be sent back out to various destinations. But ports were shut down, and the supply chain came screeching to a halt.

Things were looking better by the end of 2020. Ports were opening back up, and we thought we were in the clear—but then, backups happened. Workers were unable to load and unload containers fast enough to keep up with all of the ships coming in from sea. This caused frustration for many ship captains who were already running behind schedule.

Instead of waiting for days for their ships to get loaded with new containers, many captains decided to abandon their empty containers and head back to their home ports without them. It’s hard to blame them for that (after all, they have to make their deadlines!), but leaving containers behind only worsened our container situation.

Can making more containers resolve the shortage?

When there’s a shortage of any commodity, the answer is usually to just make more—but that doesn’t seem to be the case with shipping containers. There are three Chinese manufacturers that create 80 percent of the world’s shipping containers. These companies are actually fabricating containers at a record pace, but there still aren’t enough shipping containers to go around.

The future for shipping container prices

Due to the shipping container shortage and other external factors, shipping prices are up across all products worldwide—and consumer prices are going up as a result. In fact, a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development found that some prices could go up by as much as 10 percent.

While we hope the shortage situation and bottlenecks at ports can resolve themselves over time, it’s anyone’s guess as to when things will return back to normal. For now, we recommend everyone brace themselves to pay extra for their goods for the next year or so.

We have the shipping containers for you

While COVID-19 did cause a shipping container shortage, A Mobile Box still has containers to buy or rent. Contact our team today to learn more about pricing for all of our shipping containers.

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