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Port Congestion Threatens Holiday Shopping

By NAM News Room

Clogged ports across the United States and Europe are expected to put a strain on the holiday season, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

The challenge: As the year-end shopping season nears, importers and exporters fear that shipments may not arrive on time because of ongoing congestion at American and European ports.

  • Dock worker strikes and driver shortages plague European ports, while low rail capacity and a lack of warehouse space is causing additional challenges in the United States.

The scope: “In June, 9.3% of all containers were stuck on ships or terminals, nearly five times higher than the monthly average from the prior decade. … Brokers said that in July, around 60% of all ship types arrived at ports six days late, on average.”

The response: In the U.S., possible strikes on West Coast ports have caused cargo owners to move some shipments to the East Coast, leading to docking delays and lowering the reliability of the eastern ports.

What we’re saying: “While some recent data has shown port delays lessening, or a mild dip in container pricing, manufacturers continue to endure a painful shipping supply chain,” said NAM Director of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Ben Siegrist.

  • “As we turn into the fall and shipping lanes get busier, the NAM is applying all the pressure it can to enact provisions from the Ocean Shipping Reform Act that will ease congestion and lower prices. We are also keeping a broad focus on additional reforms that could help clear bottlenecks, increase port throughput and improve surface shipping efficiency and availability.”
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