Why we're in a shipping crisis

I'll explain this just once...

Hi everyone!

Thanks for joining me for another week of MODES. Today, we’re going all in on a topic that doesn’t seem to be going away: the never-ending SHIPPING CRISIS.

I haven’t found a satisfying, succinct report on explaining the shipping crisis that I can send to friends who ask about it. Maybe you have friends who are also hassling you for the same information, or maybe you are that friend.

Here’s the link to send around to learn what’s going on. As I mentioned last week, my dear employer Business Insider is hosting MODES on its website.

There were a few fascinating takeaways:

  • Ships, just like trains, have become larger and larger in the past 20 or so years. That’s to reach economies of scale and slice down that price-per-unit for a shipping company to move a container.

  • There isn’t a container shortage, but rather we don’t have containers in the right places. Some shipping companies forgot that you need to send empties back to Asia to get reloaded. Oops!

  • Some ships spend more time waiting to get unloaded at a given port than crossing an entire ocean.

  • Maersk made a profit in 2020 after losing money for three out of the last four years.

  • Container prices literally look like a meme stock right now!

Special thanks to Simon Sundboell of maritime shipping intelligence firm eeSea, who spent nearly an hour this week answering my many questions on shipping and providing me with data galore.

What do you think is the next shortage? What do you think I missed on ocean shipping? Send me your thoughts at rpremack@insider.com.