Reliability issues adding to port congestion troubles

Widespread port congestion continues to create logistical challenges in the global supply chain.

But, Xinnan Li with Rabo AgriFinance says reliability issues are contributing to the backlog.  “Basically you book spots for a carrier, for a ship, and then you weren’t able to get on to that carrier because it’s too full and it is oversold,” she says.  “It’s just like what we’re seeing in the airline industry.”

She tells Brownfield the supply chain has been leaning heavily on surface transportation networks – like trucking and rail.  But, Li says that has its own set of problems.  “The ports of LA and Long Beach extended their operating hours into late nights and early mornings in order for truckers to pick up the containers,” she says.  “So far the trial has not been as successful as they expected, because there aren’t enough truckers coming in to pick up those containers.”

And despite the export challenges, Li says for the first eight months of this year, exports have been strong.  “We are at over 3 percent growth compared to 2019 and we’re at over 20% growth compared to 2020.”

She says they are starting to see some signs of recovery, but there is still a long way to go before exports and shipping return to normal. 

AUDIO: Xinnan Li, Rabo AgriFinance

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