Shipping containers are the lifeblood of world trade: Virtually every product and part that circulates through the global economy travels across the seas, railroads, and highways ensconced in their corrugated metal embrace. But lately, those all-important containers are in short supply in the places where they’re needed most.
Indian exporters to North America and Europe are complaining that the wait times to find a shipping container can stretch as long as three weeks. British exporters say the shortage has delayed shipments to east Asia for up to two months. And in the meantime, container prices have nearly doubled.
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