How Are COVID-19-Related Port Restrictions Impacting the Shipping Industry?

How Are COVID-19-Related Port Restrictions Impacting the Shipping Industry?

August 27, 2021

COVID-19 has caused disruption in every industry, but the shipping industry is under particular stress due to an unprecedented labor shortage. When it comes to drayage shipping, COVID-19 port restrictions are causing further strain. The labor shortage and port restrictions combined are increasing chassis turnaround time, tying up movement of goods at the country’s ports. Here’s what you need to know about COVID-19-related port restrictions.

What’s causing the backlog?

COVID-19 has caused a tidal wave of problems for the logistics industry, including container shortages and backlogs at ports. Drayage shipping providers have seen particularly long delays due to global supply chain disruptions. Many shippers are left wondering when, where and how their shipments will be delivered.

The multitude of disruptions has had a significant impact on drayage shippers, made worse by the fact that the industry is facing a chassis shortage. Since every container needs to be hauled on one, and there’s currently not enough labor to empty containers, turnaround times for chassis have continued to increase, causing even more of a backlog.

More drivers are also leaving drayage due to tire and truck part shortages. Trucks in need of repair are off the road for weeks or months at a time due to the unavailability of parts. The unused trucks are sitting in yards, and companies have been weighing whether it’s worth it to retain drivers as they wait for necessary repairs. This vicious cycle shows no signs of slowing down, and the disruptions are going to be a decisive factor in whether drayage shipping providers sink or swim.

How has the industry responded to the pandemic?

American ports have remained operational throughout the pandemic, but to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, ports have imposed restrictions that drayage shipping providers should be aware of. Currently, ports are in the midst of an incredible cargo surge. Every part of the supply chain is impacted—from ships and railroads to trucks, warehouses and distribution centers.

Governments worldwide have introduced safety regulations and restrictions related to movement of ship crews, truck drivers and other workers who access port facilities. While some cargo-related services operate 24/7, it’s simply not enough to deal with the backlog of shipments. Every part of the supply chain should expect some form of disruption now and for the foreseeable future.

One important point to consider is the new Omicron variant. This highly contagious COVID-19 variant will be another test of resilience for stressed and fractured supply chains as stringent containment measures like lockdowns are considered worldwide. While it is yet to be seen how this new variant will affect supply chain recovery, it certainly highlights the fact that the pandemic is far from over.

Omicron has the potential to set back exports recovery, potentially causing further disruption to the supply chain which would have lingering effects on every aspect of logistics, including drayage shipping.

COVID-19 port restrictions have challenged the shipping industry over the past two years. That’s why it’s more important than ever to work with a capable logistics company if you’re planning to move goods. Contact All Points Transport today to learn more about cargo transport in these unprecedented times.

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