The cost of shipping stuff in containers has gotten so out of hand that major worldwide shippers like Coca-Cola Co. are switching its cargoes to vessels that are normally only used by industrial commodity traders to help keep its business running, reports Transport Topics.
In normal times, the company transports materials around the world in the same 20-foot steel boxes that haul everything from toys to bicycles. With those markets booming and capacity constrained, it has instead chosen to use three so-called bulk carriers — normally used by commodity traders to haul products like coal and iron ore — to transport 60,000 tons of cargo, Alan Smith.
“When you can’t get containers or space due to the current ocean freight crisis, then we had to think outside the box,” Smith said.
The big advantage of using containers is that they are part of a well-established logistics chain that gets goods efficiently from where they are made to where they are used. Bulkers may be cheaper, but they can be less convenient because the cargoes have to get moved to and from ports.
So tight is the container freight market that there has even been demand for some bulkers — so-called because they move cargoes in bulk and not in individualized boxes — to move boxes on their decks.
Unfortunately for the companies hiring vessels, even dry-bulk freight is now booming too.
If that continues — and some say it may — one workaround for the container crisis may start to lose some of its allure.
Full story here.