US retailers are stocking up for what they hope will be an outstanding holiday season. This despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and unemployment numbers continue to edge higher. And, as of yet, no additional economic stimulus or increased unemployment benefits coming from Congress. US shipping volumes, which include truck, rail and air, in September jumped 7.1% compared to August and that comes on the heels of an 8.0% increase in July. The upward spike has reversed the short lived plunge during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in which many trucking companies filed for bankruptcy and several went out of business. For goods coming from overseas, Jeremy Nixon, CEO of Ocean Network Express, the world’s fifth-largest container line, summed it up this way, “The ships are 100% full. The containers are 100% full. You can’t get a container built. You can’t pick up a ship from the spot market.” “The ocean container market is “unbelievable,” he said. “We are sold out.” FedEx and UPS have already told their largest customers that most of their capacity is already spoken for, retailers and shipping consultants told the Wall Street Journal. Any extra trailers with holiday orders would have to wait, they were being told. And it should come as no surprise that freight rates are steadily increasing, as availability continues to shrink.
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Holiday Crunch Starts Early With More Packages Than Means to Deliver Them