Imports of disposable gloves are currently being impacted by major backups in Asia-U.S. trans-Pacific trade.
Shipping container volumes along these routes have reached their limit. Massive congestion in the California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is forcing ocean carriers to cancel sailings—not because of lack of demand, but because ships are stuck awaiting berths.
That means imports of disposable gloves, like every other product coming from Southeast Asia, will slow considerably. Distributors with inventory already stored in U.S. warehouses will be able to deliver now while the shipping issues are at their most problematic.
This congestion at port facilities is putting a substantial strain on supply chains and causing major delays in product arriving in warehouses and, ultimately, with end-users. It is a problem that has been chronic since the second half of 2020.
The huge uptick in imports is not going to ease soon, and high volume levels are expected to continue through February, according to Port of Los Angeles’ forecast. Volume at the port was expected to be up nearly 148% the last week of January.
The impact of COVID-19 on labor availability affects turnaround time for truckers at all terminals. Labor has been a challenge across multiple industries due to the pandemic and has exacerbated issues at West Coast ports.
The ports are also having to fight a severe outbreak of COVID-19 among their workforces, something that could hamper productivity further. Around 700 dockworkers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have contracted coronavirus and hundreds more have taken virus-related leaves.