Shipping Costs at Record Highs As Bottleneck Problems Continue


There’s no doubt about it. Shipping both internationally and domestically continues to pose significant problems. It doesn’t matter if you are importing or exporting, orders are delayed and it’s not without good reason.  Recently, at the port of Los Angeles, there were forty-two ships waiting to unload their cargo. And it’s not just the west coast – a similar scenario is taking place at every major port in the United States and elsewhere throughout the world.

Ships stacking up at San Francisco Bay

In California, the worsening coronavirus has led to a reduction in the amount of dock workers and this coupled with increased volumes of cargo continues to slow things down.  Lack of storage space is a big problem with most warehouses within a few hours of the ports filled to capacity.  Unless the import container is being delivered directly to the end user the delays can be significant.

That is, if you can find a trucker.  And the chassis for your container – many are in disrepair and need rebuilding and servicing.

Ships wait to unload Port of Los Angeles

The cost to ship a container of product has risen by 80% since early November – a triple increase since March 2020.  Let’s say a reefer container originally cost you $3000 to ship.  Expect your cost to be about $9000 per container now – if you can even get one.  The cost of shipping a container of goods has risen by 80 percent since early November and has nearly tripled over the past year, according to the Freightos Baltic Index Container.”

Container bookings used to be honored but that is long gone.  Often truckers will go to port to pick up the empties and suddenly the booking is invalid or there is just no equipment – even though the booking was made weeks, even months before. Or, as they deliver your loaded container to the dock they are told – no more containers being received today (even though you have a firm delivery appointment.)   Your shipment (and your customer) is now on hold.

Port delays leave ships stranded off pacific coast gateways

The supply chain is broken and will take a long time to get back to normal, if ever.  Think back just a year ago to February 2020, the onset of the covid-19 pandemic and when this all began in Wuhan, China.  Up to that time (late January 2020) shipments from China to the USA and other countries were fairly regular, with the usual slowdown and reduction of shipping activity due to the approaching celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Then came covid-19 along with temporary trade restrictions and higher duties on product coming into the United States.  Things slowed down, including demand as U.S. and consumers worldwide went into lockdown and did not frequent entertainment venues or restaurants.  The food service industry changed dramatically, and grocery stores thrived.  People bought more frozen food and canned goods. New food take-out businesses and delivery styles blossomed as working from home became the norm. 

And from a logistics standpoint steamship companies took action due to lack of demand to remove some vessels from certain trade routes thus reducing the availability of containers both reefer and dry. Thousands of empty containers remain stranded throughout the world.

Then suddenly, in the second half of 2020, demand for Asian goods picked up in the U.S. as American consumers began to shop again.  Unable to eat out or spend their dollars at entertainment venues, people started buying imported goods in record amounts from clothing and furniture to shoes. The holiday season was coming.  This “abrupt and unprecedented spending shift has upended long-standing trade patterns, causing bottlenecks from the gates of Chinese factories to the doorsteps of U.S. homes” as well as to many other countries throughout the world.

Global food exports paralyzed by port problems

Suddenly, reefer and dry containers that were no longer in regular service, were now in high demand as factories revamped to meet new covid-19 safety protocol and increased production for the unexpected influx of orders.  Congestion developed at ports with long waiting times resulting in disruption and delays and of course, higher costs.

These factors plus many more, contributed to a broken supply chain and the logistical nightmare facing most shippers today. When this pandemic is over things will not exactly return to “normal.”  The new Biden administration is already pushing (by mandate) that federal agencies must purchase products “Made in America”, making it harder for theses agencies to buy imported goods. Throughout the world there is pressure to increase domestic production and create more jobs at home.  There will continue to be shipping problems and logistical issues because these things do not right themselves quickly.

But there are some things never change.  And that is our determination and promise here at Noon International to provide you, our customers and suppliers with the best possible service from farm to fork and procurement to delivery.  Although this pandemic turmoil has brought to light many vulnerabilities in the supply chain, it is everyone’s responsibility to recognize them for what they are – they are only temporary.  Thank you for your patience during this time. We remain committed to finding ways for our businesses to work better and more profitably together today and in the future.

Lily Noon


  1. Shipping Costs Quadruple to Record Highs on China-Europe Bottleneck, Financial Times, George Steer and Valentina Romel,
  2. Container Shortages the Biggest Disruptor, The Loadstar, Mike Wackett,
  3. Drewry: Blanked Sailings Contributed to Container Shortages, The Maritime Executive,
  4. Costco Expects Container Shortages Through March, The Supply Chain Dive, Emma Cosgrove,
  5. Where Are All the Containers? The Global Shortage Explained, Hillebrand,






製品の入ったコンテナの輸送コストは、11月初旬から80%も高騰しました。2020年3月と比べると3倍です。冷蔵コンテナ1本の輸送コストが、本来なら3,000ドルのところ、今では9,000ドル前後になっているということです。ただし、コンテナを見つけられればの話です。Freightos Baltic Index Containerによると、物流コンテナの輸送コストは、11月初旬から80%上昇し、過去1年間で3倍近く上昇した」。










でも、決して変わらないこともあります。それは、農家から食卓へ、調達から配達へと至るまで、できるかぎりベストのサービスをお客様とサプライヤーの皆様にお届けしていくという、私たちNoon Internationalの決意と約束です。このパンデミックが引き起こした激変により、サプライチェーンの脆弱性が数多く明るみに出されましたが、現実を正しく認識すること、すなわち一時的な状況なのだと認識することは、全員の責任です。今の状況に対する皆様のご理解にお礼を申しあげます。今後も業務体制を改善するための方法を見つけ、現在と未来の収益性を高めていく所存です。

Lily Noon




  1. Shipping Costs Quadruple to Record Highs on China-Europe Bottleneck(輸送コストが4倍で史上最高に、中欧のボトルネックが原因)、Financial Times、George Steer、Valentina Romel、
  2. Container Shortages the Biggest Disruptor(コンテナ不足が最大の障害)、The Loadstar、Mike Wackett、
  3. Drewry: Blanked Sailings Contributed to Container Shortages(Drewry報告書:船舶の運航停止がコンテナ不足の一因)、The Maritime Executive、
  4. Costco Expects Container Shortages Through March(コストコ、3月末までコンテナ不足の見通し)、The Supply Chain Dive、Emma Cosgrove、
  5. Where Are All the Containers? The Global Shortage Explained(コンテナはいったいどこへ消えたのか?世界的な不足状況を解説)、Hillebrand、

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