Shortage of containers threatens food trade

By Gabriel Paes and Samira Scoton |

The flow of food in international trade is being hampered by the scarcity of containers suitable for the allocation of cargo for maritime travel. Severe variations in container pricing, in addition to insufficient quantities for purchasers and rotting of certain foods awaiting boarding at port terminals are some of the consequences of these circumstances. This scenario reflects the dynamics of China’s economic recovery in the second half of 2020, increasing demand for containers, thus attracting large companies that end up sending high amounts of empty containers to the Asian country, decreasing the market supply.

Impacts on Defense and Security: The marked dependence of certain States regarding the international market can impair the maintenance of food safety. This undermines the structuring of power dimensions and internal control, making these States less resilient to tariff variations, sanctions and political articulations, among other instabilities of the international system.

Source: ALMEIDA, Isis; KOH, Ann; HIRTZER. The Global Food Trade Has Been Upended by a Container Crisis. Bloomberg, 2/1/2021. Available at:

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