Whether you follow freight and logistics news closely or not, it's no secret the supply chain has behaved differently for quite awhile. And a major link in the stressed supply chain in early 2022 continues to be backups at several ports of entry. In fact, backups at major North American ports like Los Angeles and Long Beach have led to a chain reaction causing problems at traditionally smaller ports as carriers search for alternatives. Ports that were never setup to handle the heavier volume are adding to supply chain stresses that are spilling inland and across freight modes like intermodal, rail, and truckload as well.
Washington State Supply Chain Update
A perhaps underreported area of supply chain stress in early 2022 is in the northwest U.S., particularly Washington state. Washington is a prime example of an area dealing with ocean freighter overflow as ships shifted north to avoid the California ports to get their cargo onto land. However, those cargo ships have found a hurry up and wait scenario, with resources on the ground more limited. Chassis availability is a major factor everywhere, but particularly bad in Washington, with containers taking weeks to move without this key piece of equipment.
One reason? So far in early 2022, the inbound/outbound balance has been thrown especially off kilter in Washington, so chassis, containers, etc., are not naturally replenishing at the needed rate to make up for heavier ocean volume. The trickle down from the Washington ports has logically affected intermodal and truckload times from this region as well. Washington shows up repeatedly on the American Transportation Research Institute's just released Top 100 Truck Bottlenecks of 2022 list, so truckers had already faced traffic-related issues prior to this crunch. But both truckload and intermodal due to more limited route options combined with the aforementioned lack of chassis and containers are facing similar struggles.
The State of the Supply Chain in Early 2022
The supply chain crisis that began in 2021 has shown glimmers of easing here and there, but a return to a fully normal environment this year seems unlikely. Container, chassis, warehouse capacity, labor and other shortages also continue impacting shipping times. Combine that with persistent consumer demand, and some are even less optimistic about a return to normal anytime soon. While Washington provides an example of a number of persisting issues, other locales continue to deal with backups as well. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for example have seen some improvements, but the backlog of container ships has yet to clear. And east coast ports like New York/New Jersey, Savannah and Norfolk are not immune either. Inland areas like Salt Lake City and Denver have also dealt with transportation difficulties due to both the aforementioned shortage issues as well as some harsh winter weather.
With all these supply chain issues persisting in early 2022, shippers still have to keep shipping. So that calls for creative solutions to navigate the supply chain as efficiently as possible. At InTek Freight & Logistics, our experienced team has a track record of doing just that, combining our know-how and connections with the latest technology to find solutions to shipping problems. Just reach out and we'll discuss how you can put us to work for your company.
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