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GSCW chat recap: Dealing with ocean transportation logjam

‘It’s been a very difficult time’

Philip Damas and Andy Gillespie at FreightWaves' Global Supply Chain Week (Photo: FreightWaves)

This fireside chat recap is from Day 6 of FreightWaves’ Global Supply Chain Week. Day 6 focuses on global maritime logistics.

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: Navigating the transportation logjam at the ports

DETAILS: A look at how U.S. importers are dealing with record shipping delays and a lack of supply.

SPEAKERS: Philip Damas, managing director at Drewry Shipping Consultants, and Andy Gillespie, director of global logistics at Ansell Healthcare Products


In addition to his managing director role at Drewry, Damas is the founder and operational head of Drewry Supply Chain Advisors, the logistics arm of the Drewry Group. He is also the founding director of shipping research and database company ComPair Data. Damas’ career includes time analyzing the shipping sector with American Shipper and Containerisation International as well as management and financial control duties at CMA CGM and container shipping consortium Cobra.

Gillespie’s 42-year career in logistics includes leadership roles managing transportation and logistics for American Standard and Rhone-Poulenc. He also served on the board of The National Industrial Transportation League for 18 years.  


On the current state of container shipping: “The congestion at ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach is the worst that we’ve ever seen it. Globally, 50% of ships are arriving late now. At origin, a high percentage of cargos are not shipped on the original ship. The load factor of ships is at a record high. The container velocity is 25% lower than last year, leading to major shortages.”

On when the bottlenecks will ease: “We are seeing carriers invest in new shipping containers. The statistics we have at Drewry is that the production in the second half of this year is up 80% from last year. So the carriers appear to be taking that seriously. But it will take a while until the containers are available.”


On the impacts to the shipping schedule: “Normally, we’d be in the 80% range of shipping in the window that we had planned and then some tweaking that might be a week or so extended from that. Now we’re in a situation where maybe 40% of our schedule is actually moving on the time that it needs to move. And that’s also being faced with congestion at the destination side.”

On predictions and missed predictions: “We couldn’t forecast and I didn’t see anyone forecast that early September would start to be a critical situation on the trans-Pacific and then roll into the other trade lanes. In the past when we’ve had critical trade lanes, it might be just a major trade lane but not every trade lane. This went from September to October and then expanded into Asia-Europe and then intra-Asia and became as we see a global phenomenon. Nobody knew in July though.”

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Todd Maiden.

Todd Maiden

Based in Richmond, VA, Todd is the finance editor at FreightWaves. Prior to joining FreightWaves, he covered the TLs, LTLs, railroads and brokers for RBC Capital Markets and BB&T Capital Markets. Todd began his career in banking and finance before moving over to transportation equity research where he provided stock recommendations for publicly traded transportation companies.