FedEx will sell space on empty container imports as a congestion-bypass service

And much more!

One thing that captured my attention in this nice article by Max Garland is the increasing use of 53 foot containers for imports to the US. This is a natural development, too long in coming as long as the US imports so much stuff. It saves the transloading step in SoCal once 40-foot containers get here; they can be moved immediately. A 53-foot container has 30% more cargo per truck move, and can be taken straight to a destination. No longer a reason to transload.

Another interesting point highlighted in the headline is FedEx’s offer to transport cargo in the new containers they are having built in China. I understand 53-foot containers are often being moved on refitted bulk ships rather than standard container ships which have slots for 40-foot containers. And these ships would move outside standard liner routes, which means they can choose where to drop off the containers. Perhaps they can go to ports that would avoid high congestion points. Often they are smaller as well, and take a shorter time to unload.

The article also discusses the jawboning that is taking place to get players in supply chains to move cargo quicker. Apparently the move toward 24-hour service in the supply chain has not gone too far, but some big players are already adopting the idea of it. Maybe the port terminals in LA and Long Beach won’t be able to do it, but the warehouses, trucking firms, and gate access points can, and even that will improve the flow of goods.

When people understand the whole problem and put their heads together, the congestion will abate. And they will figure out how to share the cost pain of doing so. It’s a lot more costly when you don’t have goods for sale on time.

Published Dec. 6, 2021

Max Garland Reporter

FedEx will sell space on empty container imports as a congestion-bypass service | Supply Chain Dive

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