US supply chain difficulties: Home Depot charters ship

Home Depot, a leading US retailer and the leader in DIY and home improvement, has taken matters into its own hands in the face of chronic supply chain difficulties worldwide, caused by an increase in goods demand, a misallocation of containers, and a slowing of throughput because of the pandemic. Home Depot has decided therefore to become a charterer.

“We have a ship that’s solely going to be ours and it’s just going to go back and forth with 100% dedicated to Home Depot,” chief operating officer Ted Decker told CNBC. The charter starts from next month.

Home Depot is the third largest US importer by volume of containers, according to data from the Journal of Commerce. Walmart and Target are the two retailers ahead of it.

Not only have retailers had to deal with logistics difficulties, they have also faced skyrocketing freight rates. With some importers concerned that they might miss out on the peak demand in November and December, they have brought forward their orders – which has exacerbated the supply problem of containers and the ships to carry them.

The faster-than-expected bounceback in the US economy has also been a double-edged sword. The National Retail Federation last week said that it anticipated “the fastest growth that we’ve seen in this country since 1984.”

Retail sales were expected to grow between 10.5% and 13.5% to an estimated total of $4.44trn to $4.56trn in 2021, up from $4.02trn in total retail sales in 2020 and $3.76trn in 2019.