During the initial impacts of COVID-19, regions around the world went into lockdown, and freight forwarders introduced blank sailings (or cancelled routes) to mitigate an anticipated drop in demand. During this time, demand increased, at the same time as capacity in other measures like air and road freight decreased.
This unforecasted demand saw containers brought into ports, product moved, and the container itself “parked”. An imbalance of importing to exporting has seen container shortages in some locations and overcrowding in others.
Extenuating circumstances, such as industrial action in Australian ports in the middle to end part of 2020 and a cyber attack on one of the world’s largest shipping companies exacerbated issues.
Some carriers then closed to taking new freight bookings in the second half of 2020 while ports also introduced congestion or logistic charges associated with the demand.
Significant freight demand saw an immediate impact on the cost of transporting finished goods and products.