As the global pandemic winds down and things start to open back up, people are sick of being stuck in their house and now more than ever people are wanting to go out. With restaurants opening back up and getting back to full capacity, the increased demand for fresh seafood is higher than ever, and the prices reflect it! This is not just a result of increased demand however, it is a result of port backups, freight delays, and increasing gas prices.
Ports around the world are experiencing significant delays in loading, unloading, and overall processing times, causing shipping prices to skyrocket. Shipping costs are up almost 4 times what they were last year, and as of October 12th some of the largest ports in the United States such as LA and Long beach are seeing vessel backups of over 80 ships. The cause of these backups is not necessarily ship availability, but a combination of poor processing ability within the ports due to the lack of workforce, tighter Covid testing of packaging for internationally shipped goods and increased consumer purchasing during the pandemic. Workers are not able to move containers out of the port quick enough because there are not enough workers or trucks.
On average, these ports can hold as many as 30 vessels at once and those that cannot fit form a cue off the coast and wait their turn to dock and unload. Ships are being forced to wait over 2 weeks off the coast before they are being received and processed through the ports, and that is both domestically and internationally. Ships can carry up to 12,000 containers and each container can cost upwards of $20,000, so it is costing some ships over $600,000 per day they wait off the coast. Between 2-week travel times, and 2-week backups once you get to the port, the number of total trips these ships can make has been almost cut in half. These delays and inability to guarantee products on time is pushing more and more shippers to use air cargo. However, this is now affecting the prices of landed goods, causing them to go up. The uncertainty that quarantines have put on air travel have seen hundreds of flights canceled or forced to leave only half loaded.