The Holiday Blues?
By Nate Herman
It was a good summer. Travel surged and kids returned to in-person school. But, by the end of summer, serious cracks were ruining our industry’s pretty summer sunsets. Parents struggled to find backpacks for back to school and the luggage sections of stores looked like they were hit by the hurricanes that have devastated much of the country.
As we enter fall and creep towards the critical holiday season, one thing is clear. The #ShippingCrisis is only getting worse. And if no one acts soon, we are all going to be singing the holiday blues.
As I write this column:
- Shipping container rates continue to explode, achieving record highs week after week. Our members are reporting rates eight times what they paid this time last year and are now witnessing rates that exceed the value of product being shipped within the container.
- Shipping contracts are routinely ignored with many containers being knocked off ships despite payment of exorbitant fees. Our members have little recourse due to the concentration of power among carriers.
- Containers that are successfully shipped face significant and growing delays in getting into U.S. ports. For example, there have been over 40 ships at anchor for over a week waiting to get into the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach alone.
- After each of those seemingly impossible and costly challenges, our members face the final hurdle of significant (and spiraling out of control) delays to get containers out of ports or rail yards.
This #ShippingCrisis is doing serious, long-term damage to not just our industry but to the U.S. economy and all American businesses.
That is why the Travel Goods Association (TGA) is pushing President Biden to step up and take action now to end the #ShippingCrisis. President Biden must bring all stakeholders to the table immediately, and keep them there, to develop and implement short-term solutions to the #ShippingCrisis. Only when all stakeholders are forced to work together and lay everything on the table can we find a way out of the current crisis. Several creative ideas are already on the table, from increasing port hours and using the National Guard to unload cargo to using Naval ports to alleviate port congestion.
Aggressive enforcement of existing rules and regulations is essential. The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has conducted numerous inquiries on excessive and unjust fees. Those inquiries must now turn into enforcement actions to bring the scourge of excessive fees and contract breaches to an end.
The bottom line is that our industry, and our economy, cannot afford to wait any longer for President Biden to take action. And TGA will keep pushing for that action.
If you want to help, please tell President Biden, and your members of Congress, to act now to end the #ShippingCrisis at https://www.congressweb.com/aafa/takeaction#. It only takes a minute to do.
For more information, please contact TGA’s Nate Herman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 301-775-7633.