‘Exceptionally busy’ ports among factors increasing shopping costs

If you’re noticing a price increase at the grocery store, local mall or when online shopping, supply chain backlogs at the nation’s ports are partly to blame.

Dan Ronan, an associate editor at Transport Topics, told WTOP that they can be singled out as a choke point for our supply chain.



“It’s not so much the ports, it’s the shipping companies,” Ronan said.

While the cost of shipping has fallen significantly from pandemic levels — down to about $9,000 per container, from a peak cost near $15,000, Ronan said — that doesn’t mean prices have followed suit for consumers or retailers.

That’s because shipping businesses, according to some, have been operating somewhat monopolistically.

“A little competition would certainly help in the shipping industry,” he said

Ronan’s Report outlines record volume for containers on both coasts, with ports like the Port of Oakland seeing a rebound in May. The Port of Virginia also set its all-time record for container processing that month.

This could be the result of quick moves by retailers looking to ship their stock ahead of the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons.

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for WTOP.com. Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

 

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