I was amazed yesterday when I was reading “CE Outlook,” a car electronics newsletter, by long-time friend, Amy Gilroy. She actually had a lead story about how many car audio parts are not being delivered to customers in the United States because they were lost at sea. Container ships from China actually lost merchandise that fell into the ocean because of stormy weather.
When I read the post, I had to call Amy to confirm the news. Yes, containers on cargo ships sometimes flip over and fall into the ocean because of very bumpy rides. The reason why I found this so astonishing is because I have questioned the safety of these containers for the 20 years that I have lived next to the Port of Miami. I have witnessed ships with containers packed so high that I thought it was impossible for them to remain intact. Look below at the photos Eliot has snapped of the cargo ships that have passed our windows several times a day. The containers are packed so high you wonder how they can stay that way. When I asked neighbors, or people who work in the area, about the safety of the containers, I was told not to worry. They are tied down so securely that nothing could ever happen.
Thank you Amy Gilroy for telling us otherwise.
Amy’s Newsletter Below
In yet another 2020 setback, “severe weather” at sea has threatened shipping containers from at least two car audio companies.
One leading supplier, speaking anonymously, confirmed that it lost a full container of car audio products on a ship called the One Aquila, out of China due for Long Beach CA earlier this month.
A second supplier, PowerBass, had been notified that its 3 containers aboard the same ship were likely damaged or lost, but later found it was spared any loss.
In early November, the One Aquila hit “severe weather,” which caused many containers on the boat to knock into one another, damaging some and causing others to fall into the sea. PowerBass was originally told by its shipping agent that its containers were likely harmed because they were located at the top of the ship. The containers were filled with PowerBass’s “Black Friday Party Packs” that consist of a subwoofer enclosure with an amplifier and wiring kit.
Orders for the Black Friday special were the largest in PowerBass’s history and it had a total of 11 containers scheduled for shipment, including three on the One Aquila, and some expected to leave on the following boat from China.
“Since we were located at the top, our agent said it could have been ours, but it turns out it was not us that went into the water. Our containers were damaged and they were able to figure that nothing inside was damaged,” said PowerBass VP Product Development and Global Marketing, Erik Harbour.
We PowerBass had went so far as to send out a notice to retailers indicating that half of its holiday promotion orders might have been lost or delayed in shipping. As of now, PowerBass expects to have full supplies of its Black Friday special for November 15. This is later than planned, but the company is grateful it has supplies in time for the holiday sales.
“It’s truly a case of ‘what can happen next this year.’ You know, you say it’s got to get better from here and then something like this happens. We were already behind the ball because of production delays and because of port congestion… The light at the end of the tunnel was our containers didn’t fall into the water. We’re going to be okay and it will get delivered. I’m just a little behind,” said Harbour.
As for the other supplier, an executive at the company chalked it up to another 2020 disaster.
About 1,400 containers are lost at sea each year. Only last year, the MS Zoe, one of the world’s largest container ships, lost a total of 270 containers in the North Sea.
Top Photo: One Aquila via Marine Traffic