High demand by retailers and manufacturers to replenish inventories has sent shipping rates out of Asia soaring. And the transpacific boom also created a lot of logistic problems.

“The perfect storm is swamping the busiest gateway to the US economy heading into the holiday season: Labor and equipment shortages are colliding with the still-healthy purchasing power of American consumers”, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Cargo vessels are anchored before the coast of LA, waiting for berth space, and at the terminals of L.A. and Long Beach containers are already stacked very high.

Southern California warehouses are at or near capacity, the Director of the Port of L.A. said at a media briefing last week. And trucking companies can’t cope with the wave of record imports.

As a result there are serious delays in the supply chain and a shortage of empty containers for export from the US.

Moreover shippers have seen a very sharp rise in seafreight rates due to ‘blank sailings’ and extra surcharges imposed by the ocean carriers.

“The strategy of carriers is to get as many boxes back to Asia in the shortest possible time to take advantage of exceptionally strong demand and record high rates, and to do so it is hitting shippers with extra costs”, wrote the maritime newsletter The Loadstar.