The pressure for the marine transport is building up, and with it, the risk from errors is also getting high. A large number of containers, transporting everything from smartphones to car tires, sinks to the bottom of the ocean, causing a lot of trouble.
The industry has reported the largest amount of lost containers in seven years. More than 3 thousand of them sank in 2020, and more than 1,000 have been lost since the beginning of 2021. The incidents create additional pressure on supply and demand chains.
High demand=High pressure
There are many reasons for the sudden onset of incidents. From one side, everything becomes more and more unpredictable. On the other hand, the containers are getting bigger and bigger. High-profile pressure is caused by the e-commerce, which is booming during the pandemic, that is the reason is why companies are trying to deliver a higher amount of products.
“The increased trade means that these huge container vessels are closer to full capacity than in the past,” explains Clive Reed-founder of Reed Marine Maritime Casualty Management Consultancy.
During November, unexpectedly strong winds and high waves reached the 364-meter container ship One Apus and caused the loss of more than 1,800 containers. The incident was the worst since 2013 when MOL Comfort split in two and sank together with 4,293 containers in India.
In January Maersk Essen, on the way from China to the United States, lost 750. A month later, 260 containers fell from Maersk Eindhoven.
In order for the goods to be transported as quickly as possible, is possible to create dangers, which can quickly turn into a disaster.
They can be different: from inaccurate support and securing of the containers to the decisions of the captains which are time reducing, but hold certain risks.
The chance of mistakes has increased in recent months due to the huge volume of goods and the stress among the ships crews.
Almost all recent incidents occur in the Pacific Ocean – the region with the most traffic and the worst atmospheric conditions. The sea road, which connects Asian economies and consumers in North America, was also the most profitable for the companies last year.
Each year, 226 million containers are transported through the sea, and the loss of 1,000 may not look significant. But this loss represents 60% of the financial loss from all container incidents.