CONTAINER shortage that's left
everything behind from Thai curry to Canadian peas stands to get much
worse as China slows incoming vessels to suppress the pandemic, reports
Unloading holdups in China and delays on
the return of vessels when the outbreak was largely limited to Asia has
left shippers waiting for hundreds of thousands of containers to move
But as the disease goes global, the Port of Fuzhou is to quarantine
incoming ships from countries including the US for 14 days. That
threatens to exacerbate the container crunch.
"That's millions of tons of capacity that's wiped off the board," said Greg Cherewyk, president of Pulse Canada,
Winnipeg, Manitoba-based industry group that represents the nation's
growers, traders and processors of pulses like peas and lentils. "An
industry like ours, we depend on containers."
Containers bringing consumer goods from Asia are normally unloaded with
goods then filled with exports of other commodities. Brazil usually
ships meat, pulp and coffee in containers to China, a journey that takes
a month each way, while Canada uses them to ship everything from
specialty crops to lumber, plywood and paper.
The availability of containers at Hamburg, Rotterdam and Antwerp and
Long Beach and Los Angeles are at the lowest levels recorded. Imports to
Los Angeles and Long Beach, which have a 35 per cent share of
containers coming into the US, fell as much as 13 per cent in the first
two months of the first quarter, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Lee
Klaskow said. International volume could begin to increase as Chinese
exports pick up, he said.
Canada doesn't have enough shipping containers to export some of its pea
and lentil crops and exports are running as much as two months behind
after 30 vessels from China canceled their sailing to Vancouver since
January, Mr Cherewyk said.
Brazilian coffee sellers have been struggling to secure forward bookings
due to the shortage as many containers leaving to China aren't
US pork exporters are also crimped by a tighter supply, though that's
partly since they are moving record high volume to China, said Laurie
Bryant, executive director of the Meat Importers Council of America.