Freight Forwarding, Supply Chain, Transportation

Global Container Shortage

a port with containers present despite the global container shortage
global container shortage

Last year there were reports of a global freight container shortage. This shortage has continued on to this year. The demand for containers greatly outnumbers the number of containers available. With the current state, the shortage may continue until the end of 2021 and even into 2022.

When did this Shortage Begin?

The start of this shortage was believed to happen in mid to early 2020 during the coronavirus lockdowns. With the pandemic establishing quarantine worldwide, people resorted online to purchase their goods. Freight that is purchased online tends to be imported internationally. In 2020, Ports in the U.S. saw an overwhelming number of ships carrying freight arrive at their terminals. This large volume led to congestion across the nation, and we may be still seeing the side effects today.

Why is the Shortage Persisting?

There are many reports as to why there may be a lack of freight containers. One explanation previously mentioned is that a large number of ports have not recovered from the blockage. The number of new containers being sold has also remained sluggish. This may be because the cost of a container has risen greatly in a year. In 2020 the cost of a new container was around $1800. In a year, the cost rose to $3500. Combine the increasing price with the lack of inventory and it creates an unfavorable situation.

Another reason could be the Suarez Canal blockage. This added to the situation because of the large number of ships that were blocked. Over 350 ships carrying thousands of containers were delayed. The Ever Given itself can hold over 20,000 containers of freight. The blockage also led to ships taking the longer route through the Cape of Good Hope, resulting in long delays. Also, Chinese ships that were planning to go through the Suarez Canal are turning around at such a rapid rate that they are dropping empty containers behind. Adding to the scarcity.

Is There an End

As everything recovers from the hectic year of 2020, there may be light at the end of the tunnel sooner than later. The manufacture of freight containers has gone up in 2021 compared to last year. Although this production is still not enough to overcome the current shortage, it may be a sign of things to come. As the economy steadily returns to pre-coronavirus, more freight may start to be shipped globally. This could result in the need for more containers and more production, along with the end of the shortage.


If you are looking to import or export freight internationally and need a quote, call us at 305-821-8995 or email us at We provide hands-on service with your freight all the way to its final destination.

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