As we head into 2022, many of 2021’s shipping challenges persist:
- Suppliers in many, if not most origins, must contend with both a shortage of shipping containers and a lack of space on container ships. This has led to delays getting coffees on the water and (often significant) increases in freight costs.
- Even once on the water, the journey doesn’t get easier. Overall transit times are significantly longer for many routes, caused by a combination of congestion at transshipment ports, lack of space on connecting vessels, and congestion again at destination ports. Analysts have warned that congestion is worsening in some ports, and we will likely encounter flare-ups in several ports as harvest cycles come and go. We’ve seen shipments delayed anywhere from 30 to 60 days. To make it worse, these lengthened transit times then contribute to the container shortage!
- The US ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are still facing serious congestion. Last week, a record 105 container ships were waiting outside the ports, with wait times as long as 5 weeks for some vessels. Many ships call at L.A./Long Beach before continuing to Oakland, so this has impacted many of our shipments and will likely continue to do so. The port of Oakland itself is busy but not nearly as congested as southern California – recent records show 10 ships waiting for berth on average. Our local customers may also notice fewer ships anchored in the San Francisco Bay, but that’s not a reflection of any reduction in traffic. As part of a voluntary effort to reduce regional air pollution, most vessels will now begin staging 50 miles off the coast.
- Once the container is discharged from the vessel, labor shortages at ports and warehouses, trucker shortages, and railyard congestion continue to tack on to the already bloated transit times. In addition, truckers and ports are also facing equipment shortages of chassis. The continued spread of Covid and its accompanying restrictions/legislation continue to lead to depleted workforces and longer wait times despite efforts to clear the logjam.
Concerns about your green coffee inventory? We’re here to help! Get in touch with one of our experienced sales team members.