Keeping It Fresh: Port Delays Will Continue into 2022

Keeping It Fresh:                        Port Delays Will Continue into 2022

By Karman Eckelbarger, ALC Orlando

Overseas produce from South America could be facing delays due to the flood of cargo ships invading the ports. These port delays and supply chain labor challenges are going to affect the delivery of produce across the east coast. This is especially concerning for delays that could jeopardize the shelf life of berries, citrus, and light density produce that has shorter shelf lives than higher density foods. The demand for overseas goods is on the rise, whilst the availability of drivers and vehicles domestically is plummeting. This can mean higher prices for produce as companies switch or seek out other methods for getting fresh produce into stores. It also means that the transportation and logistics of getting produce delivered on time is going to be increasingly challenging.

Ports are swelled with delayed ships and produce delivery is obstructed as labor and transportation agencies face shortages.

In anticipation of the holiday season rapidly approaching, ports are preparing for the peak season as an influx of ships heads to the east and west coast. However, many of those ships will be surprised to reach those ports and face record-setting delays for the year. As ships flood the west coast, transportation companies facing labor shortages and a drought of available trucks will have to delay unloading the cargo. This is in addition to the unparalleled demand for imported goods that markets have seen since the beginning of the pandemic.

This influx in demand for goods sourced from abroad has continued to pile up on the ports resulting in record-breaking delays to get containers unloaded and ready for on land delivery. Port officials expect most ships to face delays of at least eight days before they can be docked. However, some ships are facing weeks of delays before they can hope to be unloaded.

Consumers are increasingly turning to e-commerce to fulfill their buying needs which means many carriers will have to turn to air-freight or other modes of transportation to evade the delays ships are facing at the ports. For imported produce, the effects have created a risky venture. In addition to west coast ports filling up fast, many ships are seeking re-routes to the east coast in hopes of finding a better unloading date. However, this has created a backlog in the supply chain as even these ports are incapable of handling such a high capacity during this time. For instance, ports that typically experience lighter traffic like Savannah and Charleston are being bombarded with ships awaiting appointments to be unloaded at the moment. As all steps in the supply chain face labor shortages many ports are struggling to keep up.


Karman Eckelbarger is currently an Intern at ALC Orlando, FL. Karman is currently enrolled as an English major at the University of Central Florida and hopes to graduate with a Bachelors in Fall 2022.