Why has there been a shipping container shortage

The global economy has faced a major shortage in shipping containers. This article explains why.

Published In : 13-October-2023

If you’ve been looking for a shipping container to buy or rent, you’ve probably noticed that they’re somewhat hard to come by. Not only are supplies limited in the United States, but there’s actually a shipping container storage worldwide.

Wondering what’s behind the current shipping container supply issues? Here’s a look at the circumstances that have led us here and what’s you can expect over the next year or two.

Pandemic-Created Bottlenecks

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the globe, economies ground to a halt, and the majority of factories temporarily closed down. To deal with this new reality, carriers reduced the number of cargo ships out at sea. Not only did this slow down imports and exports, but many of the containers that had already been shipped overseas were not picked up.

As things began to stabilize in China, the country resumed production and began exporting once again. However, much of the rest of the world continued to deal with shut-downs, restrictions, and lack of production. As a result, nearly all the containers in Asia have now been sent out to Europe and the United States and have not been returned.

In addition, staffing challenges, tightened borders, and rapid shifts in demand all created new challenges for carriers. In North America, only about 40% of the containers received have been re-exported. This means that 60 out of every 100 containers shipped are currently accumulating in the western part of the world while there’s a desperate need for them in Asia.

Low Production of New Containers

Production of new shipping containers is also incredibly low. Older shipping containers are scrapped at a rate that far exceeds the building of new ones, causing inventories to plummet. Even as production ramps back up, it will likely take a year or more for capacity to normalize.

As manufacturers deal with the limited availability of containers, the price of new containers has jumped significantly. In addition, container leasing rates have skyrocketed by 50% or more since the pandemic began. When containers do become available, they’re often snapped up right away, making it difficult for consumers to get their hands on containers for alternative uses such as storage or conversion projects..

Contact Container Technology for Your Container Needs

At this time, shipping containers remain somewhat difficult to come by. Due to the current shipping container shortage, we recommend beginning your search as early as possible.

Since we are one of the largest shipping container dealers in the world, Container Technology remains a top resource for shipping containers. If we don’t have the container you’re looking for on hand, we’re happy to help you find one that’s suitable for your needs. Contact us today to discuss your goals and learn how we can help.

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