It had to happen: large retailers have begun to charter their own ships and lease containers to handle shipping inbound goods from Asia to North America.  The most recent was Costco, which chartered three ocean vessels for the next year, and leased thousands of containers to use on the ships, CFO Richard Galanti explained to analysts in the company’s recent conference call.  Each ship carries 800 to 1,000 containers and they’ll make approximately ten deliveries in the year.

This is only the latest; Walmart, Ikea, and Home Depot have also reported long term vessel charters to get more control over imported goods shipments, according to Freightwaves.

Companies that source products with origins in Asia are facing logjams getting merchandise into the U.S., leading to slower shipments and increased costs (see "Price Increases; Clogged Ports").