Ocean carriers' drive
prices, delays upward
During times of economic strife, there almost always are industry segments that thrive for all of the wrong reasons. During the COVID-19 pandemic, that segment has been the ocean carrier community. In 2020, ocean carriers cemented historic, record-breaking profits due to the increase in demand for products being imported into the U.S. While shippers have seen prices dramatically increase, we also have seen delays mount.
The National Association of Chemical Distributors is an international association of chemical distributors and their supply-chain partners. A recent survey of ours found that more than 80% of respondents have experienced average delays of 11 days or more. Shipping costs also are up an average of more than 80% since the outbreak of the pandemic. Delays and price increases don’t only mean inconveniences and lost revenues, they also mean higher consumer prices and the potential for shortages of the inputs that go into some of our most critical industrial and consumer goods.
Commerce from shipping is critical to Norfolk and the entire state of Virginia. In 2020, 2.8 million containers moved through the Port of Virginia — providing work and stability for many Virginians. But the greed of ocean carriers is threatening all of that with sky-high rates and unacceptable delays. It’s time for leaders in Virginia to hold ocean carriers accountable for their anti-competitive behavior.