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Port congestion disrupts almost half Asia-Europe sailings

07/06/2024

Nearly half of all Asia-Europe westbound sailings have failed to depart on time as congestion escalates in Asian ports.

Linerlytica’s latest report says last week only six out of 11 Asia-North Europe sailings departed on schedule, with congestion at Singapore and Tanjung Pelepas severely disrupting the market.

The consultancy said: “While bottlenecks in the second-busiest port, Singapore, have eased, the strain has shifted to Port Klang and Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia. Waiting times have also risen across all main Chinese port regions, with Shanghai and Qingdao experiencing the longest delays.”

Ships have had to wait as long as five days to berth in the world’s busiest port of Shanghai, where logjams are at their highest since Covid.

S&P vessel-tracking data shows 50 containerships in Shanghai, including at anchorage. Some, like the Cosco Shipping Mexico and CMA CGM Big Sur, have been in the port since last week.

In Singapore, where authorities have temporarily reopened the shuttered Keppel Terminal to alleviate vessel queues, there are 56 boxships. The bottlenecks have caused some operators, including CMA CGM, to skip Singapore calls. That said, there is now about 380,000 teu of delayed vessels in Singapore, compared with 450,000 teu last week.

S&P also shows 51 containerships in Port Klang. Ports in south-east and north-east Asia are still the most congested, accounting for 29% and 23% of vessel queues worldwide.

The situation is such that management at Taiwanese liner operators Evergreen, Yang Ming and Wan Hai said last week they did not foresee any short-term let-up in the congestion, and that freight rates would remain high into Q3.

EMC GM Wu Kuang Hui pointed out that wage negotiations between port workers on the US east coast were due in September, which could cause shippers to rush out goods before that in a bid to avert any industrial action.

Linerlytica notes that, overall, liner capacity utilisation remains very high, while capacity forecasts for June, with continued delays from congestion, also see reduced capacity available due to forced blankings.

The consultancy estimates that scheduled Asia-Europe capacity for June is 3% lower year on year, even with the addition of Hapag-Lloyd’s relaunched China-Germany Express (CGX) service this month, and Ellerman City Liners’ recently launched China-UK service.

Source: The LoadStar

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