Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Holiday Boxes

Bulging warehouses prompt shippers to tie up containers for storage.

Containers are in short supply on many ocean routes, as many are being pressed into service as temporary storage facilities. American retailers and other shippers are resorting to having their goods sit stationary in shipping containers because warehouses and DCs are packed to the rafters with merchandise stockpiled for the holiday season, reported the Journal of Commerce.

The early timeframe for Christmas warehousing is a response to potential labor unrest, along with financially strapped carriers keeping their own inventory of containers tight. With just over a month before the East and Gulf Coast longshoremen’s contract expire Sept. 30, and threatened worker disruptions at Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation’s largest port complex, retailers have been scrambling to stock as much inventory as possible before any labor stoppages occur.

The importers holding onto the containers are paying daily detention charges to the carriers that own them, but find that easier and less expensive than trying to line up additional short-term warehouse space.

“I’m on the phone every day with our retail customers, trying to get them to return the boxes,” one anonymous European carrier executive was quoted as saying. Ships coming inbound from Asia have been close to full as well, raising the possibility that the pre-holiday shipping season may end early, as well as starting early.

What does this mean for your holiday deliveries? Maybe you should get your supply chain an early gift – a knowledgeable advisor to help keep it running smoothly.

SPECIAL NOTICE: Inventory Planning Webinar –
Due to strong response to our recent Extra Mile Letters on inventory planning, TOTALogistix is following up with a webinar on the topic, conducted by specialists in the field. Mark your calendar for 11am, Wednesday, Oct. 10th, for insight on this important discipline. For more information and to reserve your spot, send an email to

Kirk Shearer
800-989-0054 x103  

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