Shipping Congestion Affects Spice Availability

An aerial view of a busy shipping port with a large cargo ship docked. The ship is loaded with multi-colored shipping containers. Adjacent to the ship is a dock with cranes and an array of more containers organized in rows. The water next to the port and small vehicles and equipment on the dock are visible. The logo Majestic Spice is visible in the bottom left corner.

Shipping Congestion Affects Spice Availability

Shipping lines are facing severe congestion, leading to significant disruptions in logistics. To manage this, they are temporarily stopping container bookings for US ports and skipping calls at major hubs like Colombo. MSC Agency (India) Pvt Ltd has issued a notice about these changes, emphasizing the impact on service routes.

Impact on Exporters

  • Delays and Costs: Exporters are worried about extended delays in getting their goods to market, with Indian goods to the US potentially delayed by more than two months. This exacerbates already high logistics costs, which have risen by 50%.
  • Competitive Advantage: Ecuador is positioned to benefit from this trend, as they can deliver goods to the US in just 10 days, providing a competitive edge over other suppliers.

Impact on Spice Companies

  • Shipment Delays: Spice companies face extended delivery times due to shipping lines avoiding congested ports. This delay affects the timely arrival of spices in international markets, potentially reducing their freshness and market value.
  • Increased Costs: With logistics costs already soaring by 50%, further delays exacerbate these expenses. Spice companies might need to absorb these increased costs or pass them on to customers, impacting their competitiveness.
  • Perishable Goods Risk: Main line operators’ reluctance to handle perishable cargo due to uncertain transit times poses a risk for spice companies. Extended shipping times can degrade the quality of spices, which are sensitive to environmental conditions.
  • Market Competitiveness: Delays can result in missed sales opportunities and lost market share. Competitors from regions with more efficient shipping routes, like Ecuador, can capitalize on these delays, gaining a foothold in markets traditionally dominated by other suppliers.

Strategic Responses for Spice Companies

To mitigate these impacts, we recommend adopting several strategies:

  1. Diversify Shipping Routes: Exploring alternative shipping routes or methods to avoid the most congested hubs can help ensure more reliable delivery times.
  2. Increase Inventory Buffers: Maintaining higher inventory levels in key markets can cushion against delays, ensuring a steady supply to meet demand.
  3. Collaborate with Reliable Logistics Partners: Partnering with logistics providers who offer more predictable and timely services can help mitigate uncertainties.
  4. Enhance Supply Chain Flexibility: Implementing flexible supply chain strategies can enable quick adaptation to changing conditions, minimizing disruptions and maintaining market presence.

As a spice company, proactively addressing these challenges is crucial to effectively manage the current logistical disruptions and maintain a competitive edge in the market.



  • Maryville University Online. (n.d.). Inside the Consumer’s Mind: 10 Marketing Psychology Principles for Growing a Business. Retrieved from Maryville University Online
  • HubSpot Blog. (n.d.). Marketing Psychology: 10 Revealing Principles of Human Behavior. Retrieved from HubSpot Blog

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