Gridlock within China’s ports will likely force the U.S. to experience another supply chain disaster this summer, one shipping and customs company signaled on Thursday, ultimately driving up consumer prices to hit their highest peak of the year.
"The prices were stratospheric last year," Alba Wheels Up International President Sal Stile told FOX Business’ Lydia Hu. "They may not be as high this year, but peak season, it will be the highest for 2022."
Marine traffic data shows hundreds of cargo carriers sitting idle outside of Shanghai, unable to load or unload shipping containers. Hu mentioned in her report the Chinese backlog is mainly due to recent, strict coronavirus lockdowns tied to the country’s worst outbreak since the pandemic began.
Stile pointed out that the zero-COVID policy problem is unique to China.
"You never know when this, again, 'black swan' comes or another port shutdown," he said.
But now, China’s lockdowns causing worker shortages and port closures are "not just a China issue," Stile clarified.
Experts say the problems with the supply chain are "just getting started" and expect to "see them really ripple around the world and into the United States throughout the summer," Hu noted.
The ripple effect, according to Stile, will be a nationwide price tag surge seen on grocery store shelves and seasonal items.
"Traditionally, the summertime is the busiest season of importing in the United States," he went on to explain. "It's all the holiday goods, It's all the back-to-school, and it will be a surge."
Stile, who helps companies secure container space onboard cargo ships, remained wary of when the summer spike in prices will eventually simmer down.
"The supply chain is still very fragile," the shipping and customs expert said. "We still have issues in the U.S. at the ports with shortages of equipment… And I don't know when that is really going to dissipate."