Companies still have low inventories and strong demand for imported goods in the U.S. is likely be sustained into 2022, Lynch of Georgia said.
“We can easily see that this is going into Chinese New Year, and now there are many signs that it could go beyond that,” said Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Port Authority, referring to the holiday in the first quarter of the year. This is typically preceded by a rush for ocean shipping. "We talk to our customers every day -- they tell us they still have little stock."
Container ports from Seattle to Charleston, South Carolina, have posted record high volumes this year, and many have been so overwhelmed with cargo that ships have been forced into costly delays while waiting for the location to dock. Capacity pressures pushed ocean freight rates to levels four times higher than before the pandemic.
In Long Beach, Executive Director Mario Cordero said the port entered a busy import season later this month as retailers replenished their stock for back-to-school shopping and year-end holidays. "We are seeing light at the end of the tunnel about returning to normal towards the end of the year," he said.