Containers arriving by ocean freight are piling up

Photo Credit to Pat Whelan









Shipping by ocean freight out of the Port of Vancouver is a challenge right now. Here’s why.

A global pandemic, massive weather events and wildfires have all played their role and now we have some issues to deal with. Global ocean freight is one of those issues and it will impact most of us. At World Cargo we are working tirelessly with our clients to find work arounds to ocean freight and help people get their goods where they need to be. 

How did this happen?

China has recently resumed operations at several major ports. This has resulted in a sudden increase of traffic to the Port of Vancouver. Current cargo traffic has increased by 15% over what was anticipated. The obstacle on arrival is a shortage of operators to move container content, the Drayage Truck Chassis are in short supply.…the result is a backlog of containers stranded. There is an equipment shortage to move them and to further complicate things….the containers that are empty sit waiting for export….but there is a lack of exports from B.C.’s interior to refill them.

What we are seeing is an international issue. Severe backlogs have ships at anchor for extended periods of time waiting to unload worldwide. One of the causes is changing consumer behaviours during a pandemic. Online shopping had a reverberating effect as people stayed home and began doing their shopping online, businesses began to stock products they saw demand building for, which increased import traffic. Then mother nature stepped in with her chaos.

Ocean Freight destined for Vancouver

Photo Credit to Vidor Nordi Mathi

According to Werner Antweiler, associate professor at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, “we can attribute this to changes in the way we are consuming and the way we are buying….all have all been impacted by the pandemic”. This has caused a big shift in shipping traffic.  In some cases export demand is so low, ships are sitting in harbour empty.      

As the holiday season approaches we may all feel the impact of this backlog. We’ve been through a perfect storm of disruption to create this issue. Massive weather events, wildfire and a pandemic have all contributed to interruptions in the global supply chain. While the Canadian government is looking for ways to address this, many of us will feel the outcomes. Not the least of which will be people who want to ship via ocean freight out of Vancouver.

Needless to say, the powers that be at the Port Authority are facing a crisis which needs to be resolved. There was already a plan in place to expand the ports, now it is needed more. The current plan is for an expansion in the near future, says President and CEO of Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

At World Cargo, we are always looking for solutions to challenges in freight forwarding and we welcome the opportunity to help you move your goods to where they need to be. We offer a Free Quote right here.