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Dispatch from MJBizCon 2022

Dispatch from MJBizCon 2022

SiShips was on the Ground for MJBizCon 2022, the Biggest Professional Cannabis Event of the Year

Cannabis is moving fast, and SiShips is helping it move even faster. As domestic and international laws evolve, hemp and cannabis is quickly becoming one of the quickest growing sectors in the agricultural industry. 

SiShips has been working with growers to import supplies like grow lights and processing machines over the last few years. Then, following the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 we were able to begin shipping hemp and its derivatives. 

Much of our business at SiShips comes from interacting virtually with our clients, so it’s always a pleasure to meet the people using our services in person. With tens of thousands of attendees and dozens of speakers spread across four days in Las Vegas, MJBizCon 2022 provided the perfect opportunity to expand relationships in the hemp community.

mjbizcon 2022 las vegas hemp cannabis marijuana legalize recreation legalization international thcChanging Hemp Regulations

The legality of cannabis is a major political issue being debated in the United States and the rest of the world. You’ve probably seen discussion of legalizing hemp or maurijuana on the news. As of writing, recreational use of cannabis has been legalized in 21 states and Washington, D.C.; 16 states have legalized medical use of cannabis. Internationally, it is legal to use cannabis recreationally in Canada, Georgia, Malta, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, and Uruguay.

At the moment, it is legal to ship hemp products that contain no more than .03% THC internationally. Lobbyists hope this limit will be raised in the near future. As more states work to legalize maurijuana domestically, in addition to hemp, it is certain the international regulations will follow.

What Happened at MJBizCon 2022

MJBizCon 2022 sounds like a dream for cannabis enthusiasts—320,000 square feet of exposition space, more than 1,400 exhibitors, and sessions with celebrities like comedian Jim Belushi and football stars Ricky Williams and Calvin Johnson, Jr.—but, it’s more than fun and games. This event is exclusively for cannabis professionals. 

We were able to walk the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center and get up close and personal industry insiders. Just like Gen Con 2022, MJBizCon 2022 let us connect with current and future clients. Also, we got to see in person some of the advanced equipment we can help our clients ship. Getting a feel for the size and heft of the machines enables us to assist our clients even better. 

All in all, it was a great week to do business in Las Vegas and have a little fun while we were at it.  cannabis mjbizcon 2022 las vegas professional experiences networking greenhouse grow lights equipment

Looking at the Future of Cannabis

Just this month, November 2022, five states voted on amendments to legalize marijuana in all forms. While the amendments only passed in Maryland and Missouri, the future is bright for the cannabis industry. There has been a massive groundswell for legalization over the last decade, since Colorado became the first state for recreational maurijuana in 2012. Legalization has led to big profit returns for vendors who were able to capitalize early.

Next year, lawmakers look to improve the hemp industry with a new 2023 farm bill. The incredible demand for CBD-based products will drive these changes. The United States Department of Agriculture estimated the hemp industry to be worth over $800 million. (And that’s with the current restrictions!) 

SiShips will continue to pay close attention to the hemp industry and other major growth sectors. We make sure we are up to date with the latest shipping regulations so we can provide the best service to our clients, giving them an advantage over their competitors.


How SiShips Gives You the Advantage

Sheltered International combines expertise with state of the art software to bring you quality domestic and international shipping solutions. SiShips puts the shipper in control, offering efficient and cost effective ways to ship your product.

To learn more about managed transportation with SiShips, or to view a demo of our software, contact us today.

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Dispatch from Gen Con 2022

SiShips Hit the Floor at Largest Tabletop Game Convention

This past August, the Sheltered International team had the pleasure of attending Gen Con 2022 in Indianapolis. The 54th iteration of Gen Con was four days of gaming excitement, with a focus on pen-and-paper games, board games, card games, and more.

It was a particularly exciting time for us, as Gen Con presented a fantastic opportunity to get up close and personal with fans who order games and collectibles from all across the world. Many of our clients manufacture their products in Asia and attendees of Gen Con are a great representation of the final link in the supply chain.

battletech alpha strike mech con convention center inflatable entrance

History of Gen Con

The first Gen Con was held in 1968 in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Thus the name Gen Con, an abbreviation of “Lake Geneva Wargames Convention”. Some fans consider the first convention to have been held one year earlier at the home of Gary Gygax, the creator of Dungeons & Dragons. Either way, what originally began as a gathering of less than a hundred people has grown to become the largest tabletop gaming convention in North America, drawing over 70,000 unique attendees before the pandemic in 2019.

The World War I game Dawn Patrol (originally known as Fight in the Skies) is the only game to have been played at every single Gen Con. The air combat board game has developed a cult following over the years and it has become a tradition for attendees to play the game on the Saturday morning of the convention.

While the focus is on role-playing and strategy games, as Gen Con has grown, so has the scope of its vendors. Following the downsizing of video game convention E3 in 2006, Gen Con has invited video game developers to the Indiana Convention Center floor. 

Gen Con went international in 1990 when it was held in Sussex, England. Since then, cons have been held in Paris, Barcelona, Antwerp and even Queensland, Australia.

Vendors of All Sizes at Gen Con

One of the truly remarkable things about Gen Con is its diversity. Not only in the attendees, but in the vendors with packed merchandise booths and tables full of new and classic games. 

d20 dice rolls dungeons dragons catan d4 dice Vendors of all sizes are represented on the convention floor. Popular board game Catan (over 32 million copies sold), Dungeons & Dragons (the best selling game of all time), and Catalyst Game Labs’ new BattleTech: Alpha Strike (who brought an inflatable mech robot to the entrance of Gen Con 2022) are all at home next to small businesses introducing their homespun games for the first time. 

It’s never certain which game will be the next Catan or Dungeons & Dragons, but to reach the largest audience possible, all creators need reliable transportation management services.

Bringing the Global Supply Chain Home

It is an incredibly rewarding experience to view all of the products and merchandise on display at. To see the excitement on fans’ faces as they pore over pins, prints, and other collectibles makes the behind-the-scenes effort to join together the global supply chain all worth it. 

Fortunately, Sheltered International is on the cutting edge of technology that lets us bring the best shipping solutions to all of our clients, large and small. New satellite and deadline tracking features ensure vendors have their goods in time for conventions and the holiday season. Even better, our new mobile app puts the shipper in control at the tap of a finger. 


How SiShips Gives You the Advantage

Sheltered International combines expertise with state of the art software to bring you the highest quality domestic and international shipping solutions. With the world constantly changing, SiShips puts the shipper in control, offering efficient and cost effective ways to ship your product.

To learn more about managed transportation with SiShips, or to view a demo of our software, contact us today.

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Labor Negotiations Underway with Dockworkers Union

Labor and Management Meet in San Francisco

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) entered contract talks this week with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). These labor negotiations come ahead of the July 1 expiration of the current contract and amid backlogs and delays in west coast ports like Los Angeles and Long Beach. Jim McKenna, PMA President and CEO, remains hopeful about the negotiations. “At this point in time,” says McKenna, “you have to be cautiously optimistic that we’re not gonna get into a strike scenario, but it’s early in the game.” Both sides have acknowledged the likelihood of talks continuing past the July 1 deadline, but that outcome does not necessarily mean a strike from the ILWU will take place. 

The biggest focus of negotiations is the right to automate ports. The ILWU stands in firm opposition to automation, something PMA has warmed up to following the pandemic. PMA feels that automation is the only viable solution to prevent future backlogs. The ILWU claims any automation of west coast ports will be the end of thousands of jobs for union workers. 

automation port terminal shipping united states domestic international imports exports

Photo courtesy of Chuttersnap via Unsplash

Labor Negotiations Testing an Already Fragile Supply Chain

The backdrop for these negotiations is, of course, the precarious state of the global supply chain. Shanghai, home to the largest port in the world, has been in a strict Covid-19 lockdown for over a month. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has destabilized Eastern Europe and is leading to an increase in energy prices worldwide. Meanwhile, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are still working through the backlog faced by Covid restrictions and transportation strikes in the United States.

The dockworkers have been a key part of the record profits for shipping companies during the pandemic. The 22,000 members of ILWU could be looking to flex some of their leverage. Past strikes have been crippling for the domestic supply chain, with 44% of global imports entering the United States from the 29 ports on the west coast.

Port Densification as a Sticking Point in Labor Negotiations

The core of management’s argument is automation is unavoidable. Major ports, like Los Angeles, are in urban centers without room to expand. Automation enables ports to grow up, instead of out. As the global population grows alongside disposable income, imports continue to rise and ports need a place to store containers before they are sent out on trucks and trains. Additionally, studies show the output of automated facilities is 44% higher than that of non-automated facilities.

The ILWU counters these claims by saying the rise in productivity at automated facilities has come at the cost of work in other locations. Based on the east coast, the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) support their west coast counterparts. The ILA has successfully limited terminal’s right to automate in their contracts. The U.S. Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh, is monitoring the negotiations carefully and has stated he is willing to intervene if the supply chain is threatened by any potential outcomes. However, Walsh added he is not personally concerned there will be issues come July.

port shipping freight container ship boat international freight forwarding terminal west coast longshoremen dockworkers union negotiations

Photo courtesy of William William via Unsplash

Common Negotiating Ground on Growth

Both sides remain committed to the negotiating table and believe they will find a solution that works for both parties. The ports are at, and have been at, 100% capacity during the recent past. Terminals need to grow to accept more goods, which means more profit for management and more hours for labor unions. There are versions of a new contract where both sides benefit, it simply is a matter of finding that compromise.


How SiShips Gives You the Advantage

Sheltered International combines expertise with state of the art software to bring you the highest quality domestic and international shipping solutions. With the world constantly changing, SiShips puts the shipper in control, offering efficient and cost effective ways to ship your product.

To learn more about managed transportation with SiShips, or to view a demo of our software, contact us today.

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Inflation Rising from All Corners of the Globe

Covid Outbreaks in China, War in Russia

As the two year mark since the first coronavirus lockdowns approaches, life in the United States is close to resembling a pre-pandemic world—at least on the surface. While mask mandates are being lifted and the rate of new cases is the lowest since March 2020, the supply chain is still struggling under the pressure of inflation and gas prices at all-time highs. The Federal Reserve has indicated they intend to raise interest rates to curb inflation, but factors from international partners have massive complications.

The global economy is bracing for a two-front fight between Russia’s assault on the Ukraine and new lockdown measures in China. How much these events will affect cargo movement around the world is dependent on high-stakes diplomacy and the efficacy of medical care.

china shenzhen lockdown coronavirus omicon spike essential employees shipping logistics

Photo courtesy of Lysander Yuen via Unsplash.

Inflation from Chinese Lockdowns

Currently, China is dealing with its largest outbreak of coronavirus cases since the initial explosion in Wuhan. Mainly driven by the Omicron variant, infections have increased from a few dozen per day to over 5,000 on Tuesday, March 15th. These numbers may seem small compared to other countries, but the speed at which rates are rising and China’s strict zero-Covid policy is causing alarm.

In response to the new cases, over 37 million people in China are under lockdown. All non-essential workers are required to stay home in certain cities. This is leading to a complete shuttering of factories that produce semiconductor chips, computers and more. It is unclear how long the lockdowns will last, but it will be one week, at least. SEKO Logistics, a shipping company based in Shenzhen, revealed in a press release they “have not yet been advised of any official restrictions to Yantian Port [in Shenzhen],” but “no cargo will be able to load in Yantian from next week and vessels most likely will omit the port.” 

With demand still high for all types of consumer goods, any delays lead to negative long term effects; as was evident last summer with the shutdown of the Meidong Terminal in Ningbo.

Inflation from Russian Sanctions

For many Americans, the most acute economic pain over the last month has been felt at the gas pump. The sharp rise in fuel prices stems from the powerful sanctions levied at Russia over their incursion into Ukraine. 

russian ukraine opec ocean gas crisis diesel inflation

Photo courtesy of Emmaus Studio via Unsplash.

Although only a small percentage of American oil comes from Russia, the sanctions have had a far-reaching effect in a global market. The average price of crude has jumped, due to Europe looking for fuel sources other than Russia. This comes at a time when oil production was significantly down—barrels of oil traded at a negative price point during the worst of the coronavirus stay at home orders. It will take time for supply and demand to stabilize after several rocky years.

“Everything that you have touches a truck,” said Cherri Harris, the CEO of Swint Logistics Group. With prices of diesel fuel over $5 per gallon, a single truck can spend more than $500 per day solely on fuel. The price increase is eating into profits and that cost is eventually passed onto the consumer. 

Looking Ahead

This is an incredibly complex time for the global economy. Budgets and plans that have been in place for months have to shift at a moment’s notice. Even the Fed is reconsidering its timing to raise interest rates.

In China, the hope is an incredibly stringent lockdown will minimize the economic fallout for a new spike in cases. Optimistic predictions from the Chinese government give the impression they expect the lockdown to be lifted before the end of the month. 

On the other hand, sanctions on Russian oil will likely last until they withdraw from Ukraine. There is only one person who can call Russian troops home and they seem impervious to international pressure, at least for the moment. Meanwhile, oil companies look elsewhere to make up the difference from the lack of Russian oil. Chevron, for example, has made it clear they are willing to work with Venezuela instead of Russia, if the Biden Administration lifts sanctions on the South American nation. Republicans highly critical of Venezuela put Biden in a precarious place politically as he attempts to work down gas prices creating a stalemate for the foreseeable future.


How SiShips Gives You The Advantage

Sheltered International combines expertise with state of the art software to bring you the highest quality domestic and international shipping solutions. With the world constantly changing, SiShips puts the shipper in control, offering efficient and cost effective ways to ship your product.

To learn more about managed transportation with SiShips, or to view a demo of our software, contact us today.

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Border Protests at the US-Canada Border Torpedo Supply Chain

Auto Industry Losing Millions of Dollars Weekly

With new cases of the Omicron variant beginning to lessen, there were hopes by many life might slowly return back to a pre-pandemic state. February is a month that traditionally feels the brunt of a tightened supply chain due to Lunar New Year celebrations, but this year the strain on the supply chain is coming from border protests on the North American continent.

Three border crossings have been closed or affected by a group of Canadian truckers who are protesting Covid mitigation measures. Thousands of truckers have joined forces to fight a mandate that all Canadian truckers must be fully vaccinated or quarantine in their homes for two weeks after crossing the US-Canada border. The protests have been declared unlawful by police, but for the majority of the protests practically zero arrests have been made.

border crossing us canada trucker protest vaccine exemption mandate

What Caused the Border Protests?

The so-called “Freedom Convoy” began in the western Canadian provinces with the goal of driving to the Canadian legislative capital, Ottawa, and remaining there until the mandate was lifted. Previously, truckers had been exempt from any form of vaccine mandate in an effort to keep the supply chain operational during the height of the pandemic. Since arriving in Ottawa, the truckers and other like-minded protesters have effectively shut down the city. There were rumors that similar protests might occur in Los Angeles, who hosted Super Bowl LVI on Sunday, February 13th.

The protest has spread from the capital to border crossings in multiple Canadian provinces, crippling the trade of goods between the United States and Canada. The Ambassador Bridge, which carries over one quarter of all trade between the two countries has attracted the most attention from protesters and media, alike.

Who Is Most Affected?

For the moment, the people feeling the brunt force of the protests are autoworkers at factories in Michigan, Kentucky and Ontario, Canada. Due to a lack of materials, employees’ hours have been cut back. Economists estimate that workers in Michigan, alone, lost $51 million dollars during the week of February 7th to February 13th. Factories typically keep two weeks worth of supplies on hand, but if the bridges remain closed much longer, “then you’re looking at layoffs,” says Carla Bailo, the president of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This loss of wages extends throughout the entire community, with people spending less money on food and entertainment while their hours are curtailed. It is a stark reminder of how precarious the global supply chain can be.

Additionally, the communities of Detroit and Windsor, Canada, where the Ambassador Bridge is located, are acutely feeling the pressure of the protests. The required police presence at the border protests, while leading to few arrests, has led to an increase in 911 response times for the rest of the cities. Additionally, in Ottawa, the epicenter of vaccine protests, the downtown area has been in a state of deadlock for several weeks. Businesses are closed simply because it is impossible to get to their doors due to the immense crowds.

The recent lack of steel and aluminum from Canada compounds upon the shortage of semi-conductors to drive up the value of both new and used vehicles. After announcing their earnings report for Q4 2021, Ford stocks fell 6%. However, Ford reported profits of over $10 billion dollars in 2021 and remains “bullish” on 2022.

border crossing ottawa protests canada windsor detroit truckers pedestrians auto industry supply chain

When Will the Border Protests End?

On Sunday morning, February 13th, following an injunction from a Canadian judge that entered in to effect on Friday evening, police began to arrest the truckers blockading the border crossings. While tow trucks removed vehicles, hundreds of pedestrian protesters remained. The road from Detroit into Windsor was partially re-opened, but it will take some time for auto plants on both sides of the border to rev back up to full production.

It is difficult to say when the borders will become fully operational, but goods are making their way, slowly, across the border. Prime Minister Trudeau, for the first time, invoked the Emergencies Act on Monday, February 14th, which gives the government more power to suspend citizens’ right to free movement and prevent financial support of the protests. However, the vaccine mandate was not repealed and after seeing the success of their initial protest it is likely there will be subsequent blockades in the coming days.


How SiShips Gives You The Advantage

Sheltered International combines expertise with state of the art software to bring you quality domestic and international shipping solutions. SiShips puts the shipper in control, offering efficient and cost effective ways to ship your product.

To learn more about managed transportation with SiShips, or to view a demo of our software, contact us today.

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Port Congestion Expected to Continue Into the New Year

High Consumer Demand Prolongs U.S. Port Congestion

Already high consumer demand is growing, causing imports from Asia to continue congesting U.S. ports. Imports are forecast to remain elevated into February and push even higher in the second quarter of 2022.

2022 to Bring an Early Peak Season for Imports

U.S. ports have been struggling with congestion all year, and this is expected to continue into the new year. The annual Lunar New Year lull is typically a period of time that allows any backlogged cargo to be cleared up, but 2022’s “lull” is only expected to last for a matter of weeks in February. LA port chief Gene Seroka also believes 2022 will bring an earlier than usual peak season. This fall, retailers described record-breaking peak season volumes, and are now working to rush ship their products to the U.S. before factories in Asia close on February 1st for Lunar New Year celebrations.

port congestion lunar new year los angeles long beach ports chinese shipping containers delay

Photo courtesy of Tran Huy.

For the past few months, big-box retailers have pushed back their restocks in order to focus on importing holiday merchandise. U.S. imports are expected to increase 4.6% in December, 9% in January, and 7.3% in February. By March and into April, these percentages are expected to drop. Retailers in the second quarter will only have a few months before the rush to restock begins again with back-to-school products.

Trans-Pacific vessel capacity will be tight into 2023, causing retailers to begin shipping their peak season merchandise earlier than usual in the late spring of 2022. Warnings of a second port congestion issue were released last week, but congestion issues will only truly be resolved if imports from Asia slow down considerably. Based on recent consumer demand trends, a slowdown is not likely any time soon.

Above Average Container Dwell Time Contributes to Congestion Issues

port congestion los angeles long beach united states international freight forwarding lunar new year imports

Photo courtesy of John Simmons.

Los Angeles and Long Beach ports have experienced the worst U.S. port congestion. These two ports handle 50% of all U.S. imports from Asia, and the amount of imports these ports receive continues to increase. Large numbers of empty containers left at terminals and long-dwelling import containers are contributing to congestion issues, as well as warehouse congestion. The average dwell time for these containers is above 10 days, which is more than double the normal dwell time of 4 days or less.

Despite the LA port shipping back 43% more empty containers to Asia than this time last year, empty containers remain an issue. Carriers are being asked to return their containers to Asia by sending sweeper ships, whose purpose is to take empties away in bulk.


How SiShips Gives You The Advantage

Sheltered International combines expertise with state of the art software to bring you quality domestic and international shipping solutions. SiShips puts the shipper in control, offering efficient and cost effective ways to ship your product.

To learn more about managed transportation with SiShips, or to view a demo of our software, contact us today.

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Shipping Companies Are Taking Advantage of Pandemic Profits

Increased Demand, Increased Profits

The global supply chain continues to be a mess. There are delays in ports around the globe and backlogs at every step of the way. Shipping costs are 20 times more per container than before the pandemic. However, expenses for shipping lines have remained relatively constant. This translates to one of the most profitable periods ever for a historically low-margin industry.

So, what are the world’s largest shipping companies doing with their newfound pandemic profits? A whole lot, it turns out. The industry leader, Maersk, is investing their war chest in every step of the supply chain. Other firms are diversifying their business by expanding into adjacent industries. The one thing they all have in common is an interest in shoring up their future before profits return to normal.pandemic profits maersk shipping cargo freight industry invest airbus airline supply chain

Investing Pandemic Profits in Shipping Lanes

The Evergreen Group is doubling the size of their fleet after dropping $2.6 billion on 20 new ultra-large containerships; even the globally bad press from the Suez Canal blockage was not enough to sink this Taiwanese-based conglomerate. The privately held Mediterranean Shipping Company is taking advantage of their boost in profits to make one of the largest secondhand cargo ship purchases ever. They hope their addition of 60 secondhand cargo ships to their fleet will be enough to overtake Maersk as the largest shipping company in the world.

Speaking of Maersk, the Danish company is opting for quality over quantity with their fleet and ordering eight carbon neutral vessels to be delivered by 2024. Part of the draw of green vessels for Maersk is the zero carbon ambitions of their clients, like Unilever, Amazon, and Proctor & Gamble. CMA CGM echoes this philosophy with their $627 million spend on ice-breaking cargo ships that can travel the more environmentally friendly routes of the Baltic Sea.

Expanding Airline Fleets

Major shippers are taking “by land, by sea, by air” to heart and pouring money from their pandemic profits into increasing their air delivery capacity. CMA CGM has announced intentions to expand their airbus fleet with a purchase of four A30F freighters at the recent Dubai Air Show. This represents a further commitment to air from the French shipper by tripling the previous size of their cargo airline.

As mentioned earlier, Maersk is sitting no part of the supply chain out and that includes airfreight. Combined with leases and other company acquisitions, they have essentially doubled the size of their airline fleet since this time last year. The two new Boeing 777s, which will serve as the crown jewels of the fleet, are expected to be delivered by 2024.

pandemic profits maersk shipping cargo freight industry invest airbus airline supply chain

Diversifying the Shipping Industry

Part of many shipping companies’ plans for the future involve expanding their portfolios to keep profits on the rise, even when margins return to their typical pre-pandemic levels. Maersk is securing their future with the purchase of German-logistics expert and freight forwarder, Senator International. They are also capping off their shopping splurge with a $5 billion stock buyback.

Mediterranean Shipping Company has placed a large bet on their cruise division by ordering 12 new ships to be delivered from now until 2027. This purchase also includes the launch of a luxury cruise brand from MSC to set sail in 2023.

Finally, Hapag-Lloyd is taking a different approach from all of their competitors. Instead of investing in increasing their capacity, they are using their pandemic profits to purchase sea and rail terminals. If their belief that these port blockages are a one-time issue is correct, this is a wager that could pay huge dividends for Hapag-Lloyd.


How SiShips Gives You The Advantage

Sheltered International combines expertise with state of the art software to bring you quality domestic and international shipping solutions. SiShips puts the shipper in control, offering efficient and cost effective ways to ship your product.

To learn more about managed transportation with SiShips, or to view a demo of our software, contact us today.

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How Is A Shipping Container Made?

Learn How Long It Takes To Make a Shipping Container and Why There is a Current Shortage

Just like you don’t think about how a box of frozen waffles found it’s way to your freezer, it’s probably unlikely that you’ve ever seriously considered how involved and intricate the process of making a shipping container can be (even if you work in the shipping industry!) The process shares many similarities with putting together that cardboard box of waffles, at a much larger scale. It takes teams of hundred of specialized assembly line workers (welders, painters, etc.) to build just one box. When considering the scale at which a shipping container factory operates it is no surprise that they, like virtually every industry over the past year, have dealt with numerous delays stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

 

What Pieces Are Required for a Shipping Container?

Maersk shipping container ships China box production facilities

Maersk is one of the largest shipping container manufacturers in the world.

The shipping industry is a global industry, but like the Spice Road of old, all shipping roads eventually lead to China. Even Maersk, based in Denmark and one of the largest shipping container manufacturers in the world, has their production facilities located in China.

It starts with steel. Big rolls of the metal alloy are unrolled and cut into sheets (approx. 2-3 meters in length). These sheets are sandblasted, primed and run through a corrugation machine. Corrugation increases the strength of all types of material; picture a strong cardboard box compared to a flimsy sheet of paper.

The sheets are also made to use roof panels, floor braces, and wall panels. Now that we have all our formed pieces, it’s time to build some containers.

 

Some Assembly Required

The initial step of construction is to weld wall panels, square tubing for the tops of walls, and to create a floor frame assembly. This floor frame looks much like a very wide, long steel ladder and provides structure and strength for the rest of the build. Corner posts are added and welded to the floor frame. Smaller pieces of the corrugated steel are used to build the door frame, which is then attached to the corner posts and floor frame. This step of the process is nearly identical to the initial framing of a house, except instead of wood and nails, we’re welding steel. Roof panels are then added, and are quite flimsy by themselves until they are attached to the pre-existing framework of the container, as they lack corrugation.

shipping containers construction how to build hardware steel

Logos and other paint decorations are one of the final steps in the building process.

The container now looks more like a finished product than ever. It is put on temporary wheels and run through priming, painting, and touch up. Workers then add varnished wood flooring and attach it to the container with a combination of wood glue and heavy-duty screws.

Any exterior decoration is now added and door hardware is installed. The all-important waterproofing stage begins by outfitting the door with rubber seals and waterproofing the bottom of the box in a specialized tunnel.

There are a series of inspections and tests including a run through the “car wash” to make sure the box is watertight and can handle extreme elements. Thanks to the hard work of dozens of people, we have a Grade-A shipping container!

 

Reasons for Current Shortage of Shipping Containers

box shipping container port blockage back up congestion

There are shipping containers available, they’re just not where they need to be around the world.

Believe it or not, the time it takes to complete all of the steps lined out above is roughly twelve hours (including watching the paint dry). The real question is how quickly does the shipping container become available after placing an order? Normally, lead times for delivery of a shipping container is six weeks, but during the pandemic the shipping industry has seen those lead times stretch out to nearly four months.

Even still, China is expected to produced 5.4 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) of steel boxes in 2021, so how can there possibly be a shortage? Simply put, the shipping containers that do exist are in the wrong place. The now infamous blockage in the Suez Canal in addition to shutdowns at Chinese ports due to Covid-19 have pushed already strained shipping lines to the brink. In fact, the “shortage” of shipping containers is a bit of a misnomer; the physical number of shipping containers in existence exceeds the requested capacity. However, the lack of available shipping containers in desired locations will remain, in some form, until ports can work through their congestion.

 


How Can SiShips Give You An Advantage

If you’re looking for a shipping partner to guide you through the confusing waters of international and domestic trade, SiShips is here to help. We combine our personal expertise with state of the art software to work through any and all delays across the globe. SiShips can work with you to find the most cost and time-efficient ways to transport your product wherever it needs to go.

To learn more about SiShips, or to view a demo of our software, contact us today.

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How a Partnership with Sheltered International Can Grow Your Business Internationally

Gain Support and Build Customer Relationships with Sheltered International

Though international expansion can often mean untapped business opportunity, many domestic shipping providers don’t have the expertise or resources to take this step. Delivering years of experience in the international shipping industry, Sheltered International can help. With support, training, and access to our white-label software SiShips, small businesses can grow globally. Read on to learn how partnering with Sheltered International can instantly streamline your international expansion.

Simplifying International Expansion for Independent Businesses

international shipping sishipsOur technology platform SiShips simplifies all steps of global shipping, from quoting to tracking to billing. With the software, agents and their clients gain freight forwarding and customs brokerage services in 819 cities across 190 countries. This also makes it possible to produce instant international quotes for shipments, providing clients with the information they need immediately. Questions or obstacles are managed by Sheltered International’s team of industry experts, who are always available to provide support and training.

Plus, SiShips includes powerful tracking technology, allowing the user to track and manage both ocean freight and air freight shipments internationally. With this straightforward freight management, agents can increase sales and expand their business, leveraging relationships with existing customers to serve their international needs. Even better, agents that partner with Sheltered International can also earn a commission, just for using and sharing this software. “Our reps are among the best and brightest in the country,” says Sheltered International President Andrew Ciccarone, “Every day I’m amazed to see how their dedication to customer service. It’s this passion that connects Sheltered with opportunity in countless industries and global supply chains; and vice versa.”

How Our Partner Easy Logistics Management Uses SI Ships

Jeremy Curran, owner and founder of Easy Logistics Management is one of Sheltered International’s partners. While his company utilizes a variety of software programs, he believes SiShips is unique. “I personally haven’t seen a product like that,” he says, “The all-in-one-screen platform – it’s like Travelocity for global logistics.”

Jeremy’s choice of Travelocity for comparison isn’t surprising; he’s an avid traveler, and his passion for adventure has guided his niche in logistics management. He specializes in working with industries that align with his passions, including surf and paddleboards, bikes, solar energy equipment, and snow sports equipment. SiShips has helped him simplify complicated international shipping and offer clients a global range of options. Key to growing his business is the ability to communicate simply and understand client needs, answering questions, determining customer pain points, and identifying what needs fixing seamlessly.

“The ability to see international and global logistics in real-time is a huge selling point. It makes it easier to articulate the value proposition to the clients, visually showing them the tool and how it rates,” he says. After working as an outside sales rep for a large shipping company for three years, Jeremy set out on his own in 2009. His team works remotely, so SiShips’ visual nature has made it easier to communicate and grow the company. He says that software development, which has made business easy, scalable, and transparent, is central to his staying in logistics. “None of us work in the same office,” he says, “If we were still faxing, I don’t think I’d still be doing this.”

Using Technology to Streamline Freight Forwarding

Jeremy is just one of many agents who have discovered the power of our technology. From California to Florida, our domestic partners have enjoyed a streamlined freight forwarding experience, bolstered by extensive systems of knowledge and support. With SiShips’ transparency and expert-designed interface, global expansion is more attainable than ever before, easing the stress of growing your business and giving you more time to develop long-lasting relationships with customers.


If you’re an independent shipping agent or logistics manager and you’d like to expand your business internationally, contact us today to learn more about SiShips can work for you.

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