Anthea Chen

Bachelor Degree in International Trade, graduated from Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GDUFS)
4 years of foreign trade experience
2 years based in Vietnam as international purchasing specialist.
2 years’ experience in quality control, factory audit & laboratory testing

Feb 19, 2021

Container Shortage Impacts Cargo Quality

If you are doing business with Asian countries, you might notice that Asia is suffering a great dearth of shipping containers due to a big imbalance in global trade.

Exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to containers full of goods leaving China and then not returning, a severe shortage is now starting to pinch export flows. Recently, for every three containers exported, only one returns, leaving few containers available for additional shipments.

It is obvious that the shortage pushes global freight prices through the roof, but what you don't know is the shortage of containers also leads to the decline of the quality of containers. It is very likely that you pay a high price for freight, and wait for a few months, then realize the goods are damaged or moldy because of poor conditions of the containers.

Normally, the forwarders or factory will simply inspect the containers when they release or pick up the containers from the port. However, container shortage forces them to use old containers that were supposed to be disposed of under ordinary circumstances. The common container quality problems are as follows:

1. Holes in your container. Containers are made of steel. They will be painted to prevent rust during use. The old containers might rust, or even worse, have holes inside as shown in the below photos. This is a biggie. You can’t let it be or it will get things wet in the container.

2. Doors aren’t shutting right. The reason is that if you load your container, it can shift the way the container is sitting on the ground ever so slightly. If there is no one checking the condition of the container, the water might seep into the container and make the goods wet during transportation.

3. Floors are getting wet. The flooring of your container is made of plywood. It’s easy to get wet after sea transportation. Especially in the winter, the temperature differences may exacerbate the moisture of the wood. If no one checks the container before shipment, the goods might go moldy during sea transportation.

According to CHINA CONTAINER INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION (CCIA), since June, China's foreign trade has achieved positive growth for five consecutive months. China's stock of empty containers has continued to decrease from 3.05 million at the end of February 2020 to 1.85 million TEU at the end of October, a 26% decrease compared with the same period of the past five years. In addition, a large number of festival supplies and daily necessities need to be transported to Europe and the United States along with Christmas goods. The compensatory growth of trade in the first three months has led to the growth of foreign trade orders in November and the corresponding increase of containers required.

As the biggest QC service provider in China, with more than 16 years’ experience in this industry, V-Trust has witnessed this unprecedented shortage. Interestingly, as we review the results of recent container loading supervision, we discover that the pass rate of loading supervision has a positive correlation with the shortage of containers – the tighter the supply, the fewer containers actually pass inspection.

According to the V-Trust database, from October to December, the failed rate of every 100 container loading supervisions has been gradually increasing. The failed rate was 15.24% in October, 17.89% in November and 18.35% in December.

Under the circumstances, more customers prefer to entrust the third-party inspection company with container quality control, as counting on the supplier to make self-inspections will no longer be the best choice in such cases.

During container loading supervision, V-Trust will monitor the loading process, verifying product quantity, container condition, and ensuring the proper handling of your cargo. Quality spot-checks are performed before loading to ensure your order meets your standards. 

In case you need any support for Container Loading Supervision in Asia, to ensure that the container and the cargo is in good condition, please feel free to visit our website, or watch our video introduction on YouTube.

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