In my last article I covered the perfect storm the pandemic had wrought upon the container shipping sector. For many outside the industry it exposed the complexity and delicacy of the global supply chain. Given it was a once in a lifetime occurrence many would have thought that it would take an extreme situation to create such chaos. Not so.
In only six days in spring the Ever Given situation was an unwelcome reminder that chaos theory abounds in the world of supply chains and one severe but manageable event has consequences that reverberate for months afterwards.
I recently joined a discussion with the New York Maritime Inc. to discuss the causes, consequences, and technical specifics of the Ever Given grounding and its impact three months later. Our panel covered the complexity around the case, the technical aspects getting the vessel free, the maritime law implications, the insurance claims, and, in my case, the affect on international trade and supply chains.
Today we are still seeing extremely high container rates and service reliability remains at some of the lowest levels recorded. This is creating longer lead times and higher costs for shippers/importers. This in turn is increasing costs to businesses and ultimately consumers. While shippers are working on hard at pulling together short term and long term strategies to better prepare themselves for the next disruption, the focus right now getting the right products in the shortest time period with a reasonable cost.