Factors Contributing to the Shipping Crisis

Jan 6, 2022Blog, Supply Chain Management

With rampant shipping delays, a new COVID variant, holiday demands, and extreme weather sweeping across the U.S., there’s no question that things are feeling particularly chaotic these days. What do these factors, and many others, mean for the shipping industry? Our team took a look at some of the top challenges affecting the industry today.

Workforce Shortages

The employment shortages are affecting nearly every industry, but trucking has suffered a significant blow. Demand for qualified truckers is rising with every shipment that arrives, but the supply to meet it is simply not there. 

Between vaccination mandates for some fleets, current workforce retirement rate, age limits, and drug testing prior to employment for others, the talent pool has been greatly reduced. The American Trucking Association even estimated that by the end of 2021, the truck driver shortage would hit a historic high of just over 80,000 drivers. This shortage is leaving crowded ports and already delayed shipments with few options for ground transport.

Pandemic Shutdowns

As we face the ongoing COVID pandemic, situations have been further complicated by a new strain of the virus. After scientists in South Africa identified Omicron in November, it swept across the globe in a matter of weeks. 

Without much knowledge on the variant’s transmissibility and potency, we are left with more questions than answers at this point. This uncertainty is generating even more caution and delay. Many shipping companies and ports are working to protect employees with precautionary measures that, unfortunately, also slow the already strained supply chain.

Equipment Insufficiencies

There simply isn’t enough chassis trailer equipment to accommodate the incredible amount of shipping containers that need to be transported. Even as docks are filling up and overflowing into residential areas for added storage, such as at the Port of LA, there isn’t enough equipment to transport it all. This is leading to backlogs, added fees for shippers with loitering shipping containers, and many delayed arrivals.

Our team is here to support your organization throughout 2022 and these uncertain times. No matter what lies in the new year, we’re here to help.


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