Seatrade Maritime is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Conspiracy claims container shipping crisis is 'manufactured'

Photo: YouTube screenshot Dan-IAllegedlyscreenshot.JPG
The low-profile industry of shipping is not generally the stuff of conspiracy theorists, however, with queues of containerships in Southern California hitting the headlines that is changing with theories about it being “manufactured”.

At the weekend your editor while scanning through recommendations on YouTube noticed a video entitled ‘The Cargo Ships Crisis is Manufactured – Creating Supply Chain Nightmare’ by a user called ‘iAllegedly’.

Curious to see how ‘Dan – iAllegedly’ backed up the claim in the title I gave the 22-and-half minute video a watch.

While asserting that the crisis was manufactured, how this was the case was never really explained. Dan did state multiple times that he did not believe it was caused by a labour shortage, and there were some references to China and mis-management of the economy by the current US administration, but nothing concrete about how the current supply chain situation was “manufactured”.

The viewer did learn, as was repeated many times, that these containerships are “very big and some carry thousands of containers” and we were treated to nice views of full boxships offshore of Huntington Beach.

The presenter seemed to be under the misapprehension the Port of LA is working 24/7 to clear the backlog – which it isn’t, and an issue many in the industry would point to as part of the problem.

The video also indulged in what appeared to be apophenia, a conspiracy theorist favourite, suddenly veering off into random unlinked events like the apparent sharp drop in service quality at major chain restaurants.

So, you might wonder why was I watching this, or am I bothering to write about it? The answer is to see what people, who presumably know little or nothing about shipping, are watching and believing. At the time of writing the video had, had over 149,000 views since it went live on 30 September, and judging by the comments many viewers agreed with its contents and found it insightful.

The idea that the current crisis is manufactured would seem to be gaining ground as well. North Carolina Congressman Madison Cawthorn, Tweeted on the weekend, “Seeing lots of reports about cargo ships being held in holding patterns off our coast....are these manufactured crises? Going to start looking into this will update soon.

Fellow US-based shipping and maritime journalist, Peter Tirshwell from IHSMarkit, retweeted with the simple statement “OMG”.

I am hesitant to give these opinions more oxygen, but if like myself you are curious to see what is being said you can watch the video by Dan – iAllegedly below.