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IPFS News Link • Business/ Commerce

Shippers Blame Carriers For Entirely Predictable US Container Graveyard

•, By Nick Savvides

Shippers are not buying into the box shortage paradigm, that the dearth of containers in Asia is caused by the pandemic, presented by shipping lines and others, with one shipper telling Container News, "Containers don't have a life of their own, the lines manage their box fleets as well as their ships."

Shippers believe that the cause of the container shortage and the spike in charges is the lines themselves, "Shippers are being charged astronomic rates for the lines' own incompetence," said one source, adding, "It's easy to suggest it's a problem from the pandemic, but the lines manage their own container fleets as well as the ships."

Growing anger among global shippers, in both the US and Europe has seen the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) investigating charges and the box shortages in the US.

However, maritime consultant Mike Garratt, chairman of MDS Transmodal, which this week published a quarterly review of the container industry, argued that just by looking at the port statistics you can see that there is a problem with the view that there is a container shortage and this year there are more 'missing' containers than last year.

Los Angeles Port which published its figures for the first 11 months of this year showed that 4.413 million TEU entered the port, with a 3.92 million TEU exported, that means there is 493,000TEU, around 246,000 boxes somewhere in the US.

"Somewhere there is the most enormous hole with containers in it," Garratt quipped. He adde that most often it is assumed that containers end up in the mid-West for the export of animal feed, but it could also be a secondary impact of the US trade war with China, however, "This could have been anticipated," said Garratt.