The supply chain crisis has generated major disruptions in the shipping sector and all its related industries, in the face of a significant increase in demand and supply problems that neither the transport companies nor the ports nor many suppliers were ready to face.
This translated into an increase in freight rates, as well as shipping times due to the multiple bottlenecks that were generated throughout the chain, causing a tension in the system that has become one of the main causes of the important inflationary outbreak that the world is experiencing.
However, it seems that some of the causes that originated this crisis are reducing their intensity or have almost completely disappeared, which added to a greater digitalization of the sector and the investments made these months to meet the demand have made the delays fewer and lowered shipping costs.
That is why many experts see reasons to be optimistic about the end of the crisis and specialized pages such as MorningStar have already identified factors that justify this optimism, including:
1) Ocean freight reliability is improving with reduced delays, albeit from a high base of 2021;
2) The underlying causes of the supply chain crisis – lockdowns, social distancing mandates and labor shortages – have seen improvements in the last six months;
3) Sea and air cargo capacity is increasing through 2022, which should help alleviate shortages, particularly on east-west routes;
4) Freight rates, already below their late-2021 highs, should fall further in the second half of 2022, which should help ease pressure on global inflation rates;
5) Automakers are strengthening ties with semiconductor manufacturers and upgrading technology as a long-term solution to shortages caused by the pandemic. And semiconductor inventories are slowly rebuilding as producers are running plants and investing in new facilities to meet increased demand, which is set to peak this year.
However, not all of it is good news, another of the reasons that seems to be behind the lower congestion is the reduction in global demand, something that could have a negative impact on a sector that has been working for some time to adapt to certain levels of demand that could be reduced in a few months.