Blockages in the global supply chain are unlikely to improve in the near future, according to the chief executive of Maersk, the Danish shipping company with the most container ships in the world.
“Right now, we have nearly 90 ships, lying, waiting outside of Los Angeles and Long Beach to be unloaded. They’re waiting three to four weeks, because we can’t find enough manpower. work in the port,” he said.
“I wish I could say things are looking up,” he said, “but right now there’s nothing in our numbers to suggest that.”
The labor shortage is not just at ports, Skou added. “It’s also trucking. It’s in storage, and so on,” he said. “Hopefully as covid-19 restrictions are lifted and fewer and fewer people get seriously ill,” supply chains will improve, he said.
During the latest round of recent protests against vaccination rules, Canadian protesters partially blocked two major border crossings with the United States, including the busiest, in a show of dissent against Canada’s vaccination rules for cross-border truckers. U.S. truckers may consider blocking roads to major cities to protest vaccination mandates, The Washington Post reported, citing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The protests come as the U.S. trucking industry, which is responsible for 70% of the country’s freight, grapples with a labor shortage. The industry is short by 80,000 drivers, according to the American Trucking Associations, due to factors such as an aging workforce.
As global orders from consumers stuck at home have increased during the pandemic, shipping companies such as Maersk have reaped huge revenues. Maersk said supply chain bottlenecks that led to higher freight rates contributed $1.5 billion to its 2020 turnover, which totaled $39.7 billion. In 2021, Maersk saw revenue jumped 55% to $61.8 billion.