Congestion Hotspots Still a Reality

It doesn’t look to be a “dry” January for container shipping ports as carryover issues from last year are expected to continue in the first quarter of this year.

While New York / New Jersey and Oakland have had their own share of disruption, the situation for Los Angeles and Long Beach is by far the worst of all US ports. The metrics tell the story – on Wednesday there were 46 vessels docked and 45 waiting to get in. That’s more container ships at bay then the 28 vessels at anchor during the height of 2014-2015 labor union slowdown. This impacts all the rest of the port operations, from container dwell times at the terminals, truck turn times at the gates, street queues, chassis supply and so on. In addition as per Journal of Commerce reporting, labor supply is impacted heavily in the LA area due to mandatory covid safety quarantine requirements. While the sheer import volume from Asia magnifies these issues at LA/LB, the same dynamics are at play in most major deep sea port terminals. Want more detail? Read more from American Shipper / Freight Waves here.

The combination of labor union strikes in Sydney and global covid shipping disruption was a major problem for Australia that spilled over to New Zealand and disrupted container schedules and equipment supply for the entire region. The latest reports show that while the labor situation has stabilized at Sydney, a new tugboat strike is on the horizon that would escalate the situation again. Contact your Hillebrand representative for a detailed update for shipping to or from this region.

Space and equipment shortages on what is a traditionally stable shipping corridor have manifested in emergency equipment imbalance surcharges and general rate increases. We are seeing congestion issues in the North (UK and N.European ports) as well as in South Europe / Mediterranean ports.

While this all means to continue to expect some rough sailing for the next few months, our shipping partner Hillebrand is available to help you work through it all. Adjusting lead times and providing advance notice for large bookings can all help to plan out routine shipments. Reach out to your Hillebrand representative to discuss routing or transport options (airfreight or split shipments via groupage) for any prioritized orders.

Contact your Hillebrand Representative for more details.