For decades now, businesses have been using large metal containers to ship their goods around the world. These containers easily transfer from large cargo ships to trains for distribution. However, manufacturers are making larger and larger cargo ships that end up causing supply chain issues.
Businesses think that large container ships keep costs down because more cargo can be shipped without raising fuel costs too much. What they don’t realize is that large container ships slow down all operations in the supply chain, which inadvertently costs more money. For instance, it takes longer to unload these large cargo ships at ports. There is also limited space to unload them, causing congestion and slower distribution.
Construction just started on a new canal through Nicaragua that will give cargo ships an alternative route to using the Panama Canal. The Nicaragua canal will be able to support larger container ships, too. That means we’ll probably see an even bigger rise in the number of large cargo ships being manufactured.
On top of slower unloading times and limited storage space, the Wall Street Journal just reported that these large container ships are a catastrophe waiting to happen. They carry millions of dollars of goods at any time. If one of these vessels sinks, it is nightmare for supply chains because the ships carry everything from large appliances to food. In 2014, a large cargo ship went down with more than 500 containers on board.
On top of all the supply chain issues these large container ships cause, they are not good for the environment. They are responsible for as much pollution as 50 million cars. This makes them a heavy contributor to global warming. Manufacturers should reconsider their supply chain challenges and look for ways to keep costs down without increasing the size of their container ships.