Businesses across the UK are affected by delays at the UK's large container ports. While some have to put up with increased delivery timelines, others are incurring losses as prices of shipping are continually inflating.
Some businesses report a six-fold increase in prices due to a global shipping crisis that has wrecked supply chains all over. Particularly affected are shipments from Asia to the UK, due to a host of factors.
The primary reason is the shortage of empty containers in Asia and the bottlenecks at the UK deep-sea ports. While shipping problems are global, the UK faces a terrible situation due to the combined effects of Brexit and the increased demand for online goods as people in lockdown have taken to online shopping. The congestion at large UK ports goes back to October when businesses started picking up after the lockdown was lifted and there was a sudden surge in incoming shipments. Christmas shopping overwhelmed ports that were already working at full capacity, and the icing to the cake was large shipments of PPE.< p>Businesses that majorly sell goods manufactured in China are suffering the most, as Chinese manufacturers face the same shipping problems that are either causing a delay in delivery or causing prices to skyrocket. Chinese manufacturers fear they will be unable to sustain shipping goods at the increased rates. The backlogs of stock orders in their warehouses is also building up.
The demand for transportation services is simply much greater than supply, leading to a staggering increase in shipping prices. Shipping lines are charging hefty amounts to importers in the UK to drive down their demands. Some of them are bypassing UK ports and stopping at European ones. From there, containers are sent by road to the UK, taking up additional time and money.
Ports in the UK have a backlog of ships waiting to be docked and unloaded. Once that happens, empty containers can be sent back to Asia, so further deliveries come in. While managing port traffic in the UK is a primary concern for improving the shipping situation, Chinese firms are also facing uncertainty on the other end of the line because of the recent outbreak of the coronavirus.
When will the shipping situation improve? Some predict March, while others say by the mid of 2021. Meanwhile, small businesses in the UK continue to incur losses or even shut down completely.;