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CONTAINER SHORTAGE: Decline in Transport of Commercial Goods Sparks Fear Amongst Public

By Muhammad Ali

Mississauga – In times of COVID-19, global trade and business have drastically slowed down. Usually goods like food, electronics and medical supplies are transported in metal containers by massive cargo ships. In fact, most of the goods consumed by the average person, at least at one point, was in one of these containers. So why is there a shortage in containers?

Many containers, filled with goods, were left at the port they could not be moved due to Covid-19 restrictions. These containers were much needed by shippers to transport other cargo. Since the 1960s the whole global supply network which consist of ships, trains and transport trucks were built to transport cargo by these metal containers, so it would be very difficult to transport without them. Overall there has been a stark decline in the amount of cargo moving worldwide. This in turn, has sparked outrage and fear for shortages, and empty store shelves. This is in light of Trudeau’s concerns for shortages in personal protective equipment, and the current drug shortages.

Additionally, Canada’s exports have fell 4.7%. Demand is still very low for products so it is likely that there will not be a lot of cargo moving this quarter. Despite the losses, Canada has fended this, “container crisis”, far better than countries like Italy, Bangladesh, and several cities in the US, where shipping was almost completely halted due to cargo containers staying at ports for weeks. Why? The credit goes to the workers in the cargo industry, who as frontline workers, continue to work despite the high risks during these dangerous times. Worldwide shipping is improving albeit slowly. Fortunately, more emptied containers are returning to ports as businesses begin to reopen.

 

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