LOCAL NEWS

Backlog of container ships leading to delays, shortages and inflation

Oct 29, 2021, 8:28 AM | Updated: 9:10 am

SALT LAKE CITY — A backlog of ships and containers off the west coast could hit the upcoming holidays, leading to shipping delays, product shortages and inflation.

“I don’t think we’ve had anything impact our transportation and factories and inventories like COVID since World War II,” said Scott Webb, associate professor of supply chain management at Brigham Young University.

Webb has been watching the scene of stagnant ships and containers at the port in Long Beach closely. He says a ship’s journey from China to California used to take about three weeks. Today ships have been sitting around for six months. In other words, he says, Christmas is stuck at the port.

Long Beach port sending containers to Utah by train to ease congestion

And the wait isn’t the only problem. Costs have also gone up. He says a container ship carries the equivalent of 7,000 semi-truck trailers. And what used to cost $2,000 to ship a single container before COVID, now costs $12,000 to ship.

A shortage of truck drivers is also contributing to the delay.

“You just start thinking of the sheer scale of what you would need to do to make all this work. We would need an army of truck drivers,” he said. “That’s where I see lots of shortages happening in the near future. Probably some inflation kicking in with it.”

Webb expects grocery stores will do OK since the U.S. grows much of its own food and, “retailers are, generally speaking, pretty good about not trying to jack prices up.”

Thanksgiving may cost a bit more. And he says you can still expect some impact on items in high demand heading into the holiday season. Some Christmas gifts may be more difficult to find also.

“It’s not inconceivable to think in the future we might have to start rationing things,” he said. “Every year there’s the really cool toy everyone wants and it’s hard to find anyway. I think it’s going to be almost nonexistent.”

Webb points to a recent report in the industry that showed the supply chain is “on the verge of collapse. So, it’s pretty bad.”

“We’re in a really, really interesting — that’s the wrong word — it’s kind of a scary situation right now.”

But he says he doesn’t think that will happen. He said many in the industry believe it will probably take a year for the supply chain to return to normal.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park on Monday, Jan. 15, 2007....
 Logan Stefanich, KSL.com

Here’s why Garfield County wants to increase visitation to Utah’s ‘Mighty 5’ during peak months

While droves of visitors pour into southern Utah every year to explore the state's "Mighty 5" national parks, one of those five is being left in the red dust, leading tourism officials to reimagine how and when they want to attract visitors.
15 hours ago
(Derek Petersen/KSL TV)...
Casey Scott, KSL TV

Casey Scott visits Ogden Christmas Village

Casey Scott joined us at the Christmas Village in Ogden to get us in the Christmas spirit!
15 hours ago
Proch pirates and doorbell cameras...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt: Why you cannot rely on doorbell cameras to thwart porch pirates

Over a third of us have been hit by porch pirates in the past year according to a new study from ValuePenguin.com.
15 hours ago
Vincent's House of Goju in Magna, where 57-year-old Michael Vincent was shot and killed in July 202...
Kaitlyn Bancroft, KSL.com

Prison ordered for woman who shot and killed husband, but claimed self-defense

Cynthia Vincent, who shot her husband and claimed it was self-defense, was sentenced her to one to 15 years in prison for the July 2021 manslaughter death.
15 hours ago
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 09: (L-R) Christina Rogers, Janeen Damian, Michael Damian, Brad Krevo...
Eliza Pace

Netflix’s ‘Falling for Christmas’ filmed at these charming Utah locations

Lindsay Lohan's "Falling for Christmas" movie may seem familiar - it's because it was shot in Utah!
15 hours ago
A sign marking the entrance to Hildale in Utah, from Colorado City in Arizona. (FILE)...
Larry D. Curtis

FBI says polygamist leader took 20 wives, many underage, alleges illicit sexual activities

Probable cause documents lay out illicit sexual activities of a small religious group — that included underage girls — under the orders of Samuel Rappylee Bateman, living on the Utah and Arizona border. The documents also detail how girls were helped to run away by Bateman’s adult plural wives after they were removed from family […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Backlog of container ships leading to delays, shortages and inflation