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As capacity issues grow under cancelled flights and blanked sailings, equipment and the imbalance thereof is a mounting concern across the logistics spectrum. While passenger flights are being grounded due to travel restrictions, belly cargo is forced to move on all-cargo air freighters while passenger planes sit, unmoved. Ocean freight, though steady and rising, has another set of issues stemming from the imbalance of containers requiring repositioning efforts.

Some options that are available for shippers include the controlled atmosphere container that CFI uses to ship perishables by ocean instead of by air as the containers allow for more control over the ripening process, keeping cargo fresh during the much longer journey. The problem becomes equipment positions, as cargo can’t be loaded into containers if the containers aren’t in ports to be loaded.

One way carriers are working through this is by repositioning containers, the largest undertaking of which is in process by the MSC Mia. The MSC Mia is the largest containership on the water, carrying more than 23,000 TEUs and is in service to run between the US and China instead of the usual 13,000 TEU ships that call. With so much space available, not only can MSC Mia grab awaiting cargo-filled containers, but they can load approximately 6,000 TEUs of empty containers to ports where equipment is desperately needed.  Concerns surrounding the bigger ships include longer wait times for truckers at the port. More TEUs lead to more pickups.

The idea of repositioning containers to where they’re needed is basically happening with air cargo as passenger airlines are starting to move passenger craft without people (due to travel restrictions) and loaded with belly cargo to keep shipments moving despite a reduction in capacity. The excess space is desperately needed as delays on ocean freight cause planes to overbook in urgent shipments.

These concerns and ideas do set a small signal that the return to new normal is coming, despite the time it takes to get everyone back to work and back on track. By keeping our staff cross trained to handle the increase in workload that will come from playing catch up, we’re full of ideas on how to manage your supplies during the tumultuous times we’re managing. CFI is the premier expert company for controlled atmosphere options and other cold-chain and chilled solutions to ensure the freshest cargo.

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