Almost 3 weeks after the Ever Given was re-floated, the box traffic through the Suez Canal is almost back to normal, but the knock-on delays are still being felt world-wide. Unfortunately, these delays are still increasing, and this is not only due to the Suez Canal blockage.
We are seeing unprecedented demand for container shipping, this is in addition to the pandemic logistic issues – networks are still struggling to cope with Covid-driven demand patterns, plus labour restrictions at key ports, together with a shortage of box containers all over the world.
Supply chains will be feeling the effects of delayed ships and then missed scheduled voyages. The European and Asian ships are all arriving at the same time, leading to port congestion and then negotiations for berthing slots. Container hub ports are currently “full to the brim”, according to a carrier source.
Adding to problem, the box shortage has also led to prioritising the back-loading of as many empties from stacks as possible, which means sometimes urgent exports are bumped and left on the quay to enable restocking cleaned-out carrier depots in China.
Container lines have discharged Asian imports wherever they can to turn ships around in North Europe as quickly as possible and return vessels to Asia, where several weeks of full loads at highly inflated spot rates await. Shipping rates are high and likely to remain so for the next 12-24 months. Rates from Asia to Europe and the Mediterranean rose 5.6% and 5.3% respectively last week, with both trade lanes now commanding around $4,200 per teu.
To add to the situation, we are also aware that delayed cargo can be discharged and sent to the wrong port, which requires additional scheduling for the forwarding of boxes. In some cases we are seeing 10-day voyages increase to 16 days-plus.
We are not expecting to see improvement in the situation for the next six to eight weeks, but carriers are turning ships around as quickly as possible and at TPS Global we are keeping a close eye and maintaining contact with our carriers and customers.
Please contact us if you need to discuss your supply chain or shipping requirements, our experienced team are on hand to keep your goods moving. You can contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +44 (0)1622 237979
We are also sparing a thought for the owners and shippers tied up with the Ever Given, the ship and it’s cargo have been seized and are being held by the Suez Canal Authority until compensation is paid. The SCA is claiming $916m, which includes $300m for salvage and $300m for loss of reputation. Evergreen had requested a transfer of the cargo, but the Egyptian courts have insisted that both the vessel and its cargo are under arrest and the company’s request has been denied.