Current Problems with Container Shipping

Current problems with shipping container usage include: the repositioning of containers, sweating/condensation, and unloading times. These are just a few of the issues with container shipping, there are others. First, let’s discuss sweating. Sweating occurs when moisture or condensation gets into the container. Depending on the type of product inside the container, damage could occur. The more moisture inside the container the greater the damage will be. The risk and subsequent loss of the goods increases the price for consumers.

Next, elongated unloading times are sometimes an issue. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this problem has been exacerbated by lock downs and surges of goods from countries who come out of lockdown to those that were still in lockdown. This creates a problem with cost because carriers can charge more for the shipping of the same goods, but at higher rates because shipping demand is high. Also, because of inadequate container repositioning.

The repositioning of containers is necessary to facilitate container shipping. For example, containers shipped to the United States, likely must be returned to China, sometimes empty, to be used again. Because the United States imports far more goods than it exports, the containers that return to China are likely to be empty. Also, repositioning has been a major problem with the ports. Because these containers that were shipped to the U.S. are piled up at the ports, and not being unloaded, they cannot be shipped back to China for reloading. Container manufacturers have been increasing container production to fix this problem, but that also comes with increased pricing.

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