N Europe port congestion worsens despite easing volume

2022 05 31


A SLOWING of import volumes into North Europe has done little to mitigate congestion at hub ports in the region, with full container yards and labour shortages hampering operations across terminals, warehouses, and trucking services, resulting in lengthening ship delays.

Schedule delays for container vessels completing round trip voyages between Asia and North Europe averaged 20 days between May 1 and May 15, up from 17 days for the month of February, according to maritime analyst Alphaliner.

Average Asia-North Europe round trip voyages for the largest vessels are now taking 101 days, compared with about 77 days on their pro forma schedules, reports HIS Media.

Dominique von Orelli, global head of ocean for DHL Global Forwarding, attributed the deterioration of port flow in Europe primarily to longer dwell times for containers at terminals, rather than an increase in volume.

Volumes from Northeast Asia, China, and Southeast Asia to North Europe declined 5 per cent year over year to 1.3 million TEU in the first quarter of 2022, according to data from Container Trades Statistics (CTS).

Volume data for April and May are not yet available but falling spot rates on Asia -Europe routes indicate a continued slowdown in demand. Average short-term rates from Asia to North Europe have fallen 30 per cent since January 1 to US$5,939 per TEU, according to freight rate benchmarking platform Xeneta. That the spot market is not far above long-term contract rates, which have risen eight per cent since to $5,488 per TEU in the same period, reflects the slowing volume on the trade route, as well as a shipper strategy of locking in longer-term rates to avoid volatile short-term prices.

The global head of sea freight for a Europe-based forwarder, who asked not to be identified, said his customers were experiencing delays of up to three weeks in most of the main ports in North Europe.

"The situation in the northern European ports has been tense for weeks now and is not getting any better," he said.

Source Shipping Gazette

 

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