What Is the Shipping Container Shortage Telling Us About the Economy? by Weimin Chen

In the long term, sending US dollars to China in return for their goods cannot coexist with a determined effort to depreciate dollars. From Weimin Chen at mises.org:

Despite the record unemployment rate, widespread hardship to businesses, strains on the healthcare system, political turmoil, and general disruption to daily life in 2020, US consumers have managed to ramp up their habit of buying things. Demand for physical goods replaced some of the previous demand for in-person service-related experiences and much of that demand was met with a surge of imports from China as domestic production slowed down due to lockdown measures. Up until recently, global supply chains managed to find their footing and could meet demand, but news has emerged that reveals stresses on the world’s shipping infrastructure and uncovers clues about the economic outlook.

Container Shortage and Chinese Exports

Global logistical networks recently began to suffer from a shortage of shipping containers as demand has suddenly risen. Freight rates from China to the US have jumped by 300%. The container situation has become so extreme that hundreds of thousands of containers have been sent off empty from US ports, mostly to China as exporters demand empty containers with increasing urgency. An estimated 177,938 containers, were rejected from loading US export items at the ports of Los Angeles and New York/New Jersey alone and then sent across the Pacific.

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