The extreme scarcity of sea containers – each dry and reefer – has affected the worldwide meals provide chain, leaving tonnes of perishables akin to onions, meat merchandise and millets mendacity uncleared in India as a result of delay in cargo.

Imbalance in containers

Because of this, individuals in Thailand are unable to get maize and chilly on time from Chennai, Malaysians and Indonesians are going through scarcity of rose onions, and the Japanese are ready for shrimps from town. These are just some examples of how the imbalance in containers is having an influence on the meals chain. The imbalance began mid-last yr with numerous export containers from China caught at varied ports within the US. Additional, there was big congestion in any respect main world ports, and slots for container storage have been unavailable. This compelled ships to be on the anchorage for a lot of days, resulting in delays in supply of cargo.

“It used to take 18 days to ship rose onions to Thailand from Chennai. Nevertheless, as a result of container scarcity, it’s now taking up 45 days,” mentioned P Mathan of Agrogreen Assets India, an exporter of agro merchandise akin to onions and chilly. On the firm’s godown in Pink Hills in Chennai’s outskirts, tonnes of onions are prepared for cargo, however are awaiting containers, he added. The imbalance in container has damage exporters badly as they needed to pay for freight to South East Asian (SEA) international locations, says Agri Commodities Exporters Affiliation’s President M Madan Prakash.

Until December, the freight was ‘zero’ from Chennai to SEA locations as bins have been accessible in a lot in Chennai as a result of greater imports. Delivery traces shortly evacuated the bins at ‘zero’ freight to SEA in order that the containers are made accessible in China the place, as a result of container scarcity, corporations have been prepared to pay an enormous premium for transport export cargo, particularly to the US, he added.

Nevertheless, lesser import and diversion of bins to China led to a extreme scarcity of containers in India and, since January, freight to SEA is sort of $200 per TEU, mentioned Prakash. The massive congestion on the transshipment ports led to additional delay in cargo reaching the ultimate vacation spot, he added.

Reefer factors

Seafood exporter Elias Sait mentioned there’s a big delay in cargo of shrimps for Japan as a result of scarcity of reefer containers. Even when containers can be found, there’s a scarcity of reefer factors at transshipment ports, he added.

Agility Rising Markets Logistics Index Survey 2021 mentioned that the standard sea freight peak season often happens in October. Scarcity of containers in China have been significantly acute at first of 2021. The demand for Chinese language exports was very excessive over the second half of 2020.

Regardless that China’s import demand is rising, there are few containers returning to China to be refilled and despatched out once more.


The repercussions are being felt throughout Asia, with container shortages in Japan, South Korea, India and South-East Asia anticipated to final not less than till mid-2021, with transport charges over the interval reflecting the supply-demand imbalance, the survey mentioned.

Delivery line AP Moller-Maersk, in its 2020 annual experiences, mentioned that uncertainties associated to the power of container demand, proceed to pose a threat to the developments of freight charges in 2021.