How is the Government Shutdown Impacting Shipping?

With the United States dealing with a Federal Government shutdown in October 2013, our economy could be in jeopardy if the shutdown continues longer than anticipated. For example, higher interest rates and slower economic growth are expected outcomes of the shutdown. Before the shutdown, some experts predicated that the freight shipping industry would remain mostly unscathed from major problems. And many shippers who received ocean freight shipping rates continued to ship as the shutdown began. However, the shipping industry is facing problems now. It seems that the longer the shutdown continues, the more it might impact the freight shipping industry.

It was recently reported by the Journal of Commerce that there were delays of clearing cargo at the US Ports of Entry. The delay in ocean freight at ports could stem from approximately 12% of US Customs gone from the shutdown and there are massive furloughs of the United States Maritime Administration. That affects international shipping. On the trucking front, there could be delays for shipping at US entry points on the borders. However, the US Department of Transportation’s Highway Trust Funds continue to pay for road projects.

With the shutdown occurring in the middle of the holiday shipping season, this could impact the containers that are imported with holiday season cargo. In addition, other agencies are facing furloughs that could further slow down the shipping process. It might be best for concerned shippers to speak with a trusted freight forwarder to determine how the shutdown could impact their specific international freight shipments.