It’s almost time for the holiday season once again. You know what that means: it’s time to get all your favorite people gifts. That means it’s time to hit up your preferred online retailer and order all those awesome Christmas presents and other goodies you might want for the end of the year.
However, people who are used to shopping online might remember how bad the shipping delays were last year. A combination of factors led to extremely long waiting times for shipping, especially international shipping, as cargo ships and freighters backed up at ports all over the world, and workers struggled to keep up with demand. Have things gotten better in time for the holidays this year?
The short answer, right now, is that it’s tough to say whether things have gotten better. In a literal sense, shipping times are shorter now than they were this time last year. Many ports have bulked up their workforces and shipping companies have spent considerable amounts of money training new workers.
However, the holiday season always adds plenty of extra stress to the system. Million of people in the US alone will order items online for Christmas presents and other reasons – that will add plenty of extra labor to the crowded industry. Will we see long lines of shipping vessels backed up near LA and Charleston again this year?
Throughout 2020, as the world shut down and shipping became a logistical nightmare, many analysts wrote about a “return to normalcy” in the coming months. That return has just never happened, and it probably never will. People shop differently now, and the shipping industry has had to make some drastic changes to keep up with soaring demand.
This changing shipping landscape has occurred hand-in-hand with a changing economy. Inflation in the US has kept consumer demand in flux even as the central bank tries to massage things back to normal with a series of sweeping interest rate hikes. The longer these disruptions go on and the more the shockwaves from 2020 reverberate out into the wider world and global shipping industry, the more obvious it is that the “normal” from 2019 is a thing of the past.
Here’s the bottom line: if you want to shop for your loved ones online this year, get those orders in now. It might be a while before your package makes its way to your doorstep.