Supply crisis drives Walmart, other retailers to hire own ships
Walmart has begun to charter its own vessels in an effort to beat the global supply chain disruptions that threaten the industry's holiday season.
According to Reuters, U.S. executive vice president of supply-chain operations at Walmart said chartering vessels is just one example of investments the company has made to move products as quickly as possible.
The goal is to bypass backed-up ports and secure scarce ship space at a time when Covid-19 among other causes has shown the fragility of the globe-spanning supply lines.
Other big retailers such as Target, Home Depot, Costco and Dollar Tree have said they are chartering ships to handle the slowdown as well.
More than 60 container ships are stuck outside Los Angeles and Long Beach ports waiting to unload, according to Marine Exchange of Southern California.
These supply issues coincide with high demand as consumers spend more on goods than going out and the holiday shopping mania nears.
Incoming cargo at the Port of Los Angeles is up 30 percent from last year's record levels and trucks and trains can't remove it fast enough, the port's Executive Director Gene Seroka said.
"It's like taking 10 lanes of freeway traffic and squeezing them into five," Seroka was reported as saying.
Chartered ships that have cargo space and can sidestep the container terminals play a critical role for time-sensitive goods, but there is a limit to working around the overflowing ports.
The smaller terminals can only accommodate so many containers per month due to a lack of cranes and equipment.