Thinking of that once-in-a-lifetime round the world trip . . . it might be worth checking out your route.
The shipping industry is seeing the biggest spike in lost shipping containers in seven years.
Blomberg reports that . . . More than 3,000 boxes dropped into the sea last year, and more than 1,000 have fallen overboard so far in 2021. The accidents are disrupting supply chains for hundreds of U.S. retailers and manufacturers such as Amazon and Tesla.
In January, the Maersk Essen lost about 750 boxes while sailing from Xiamen, China, to Los Angeles. A month later, 260 containers fell off the Maersk Eindhoven when it lost power in heavy seas.
After gale-force winds and large waves buffeted the 364-meter One Apus in November, causing the loss of more than 1,800 containers, footage showed thousands of steel boxes strewn like Lego pieces onboard, some torn to metal shreds.
The incident was the worst since 2013, when the MOL Comfort broke in two and sank with its entire cargo of 4,293 containers into the Indian Ocean.
There are a host of reasons for the sudden rise in accidents.
Weather is getting more unpredictable, while ships are growing bigger, allowing for containers to be stacked higher than ever before.
But greatly exacerbating the situation is a surge in e-commerce after consumer demand exploded during the pandemic, increasing the urgency for shipping lines to deliver products as quickly as possible.
The need for speed is creating precarious conditions that can quickly bring disaster, according to shipping experts.
The dangers range from stevedores incorrectly locking boxes on top of one another, to captains not deviating from a storm to save on fuel and time as they face pressure from charterers, they said.
Concern is growing for the industry to address the situation.