Report: Snarled-Up Ports Point to Worsening Global Supply Chain Woes

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Global supply chain problems look to set to worsen, a new report published on Tuesday said, as China's COVID-19 lockdowns, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and other strains cause even longer delays at ports and drive up costs, Reuters reported. The study by analysts at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) found that one-fifth of the global container ship fleet was currently stuck in congestion at various major ports. In China, ships awaiting berth at the Port of Shanghai now tally 344, a 34% increase over the past month, while shipping something from a warehouse in China to one in the United States currently takes 74 days longer than usual. In Europe too, ships from China are showing up an average of four days late, causing a number of knock-on effects, including a shortage of empty containers to take European-made goods to the U.S. east coast. "Global port congestion is worsening and becoming increasingly widespread," RBC's Head of Digital Intelligence Strategy, Michael Tran, and colleague, Jack Evans, said in the report, acknowledging it was hard to say when things would improve. Ships and containers must both be available at the right time and place to prevent cancelled bookings. Any mismatch results in ships running below full capacity, hence, more are then required to move the same amount of freight. RBC said the plethora of problems was having a "domino-like negative compounding effect across various markets". Read more.
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