Rail strikes in Germany may cause disruptions to European supply chains

Today, rail strikes in Germany have commenced and it is expected to cause delays and disruptions to rail freight movements.

This is the second instance of industrial action to impact Germany’s supply chain network recently. Only last week a two day strike at the Port of Hamburg shut down vessel movements for 48 hours over wage negotiations.

And lets not forget the disruptions in France, as demonstrators protest against the rise in pension age. Trucks around the Calais region have been delayed as a result of protestors blocking roads and motorways, according to some reports.

It is advised to work with your freight forwarder to understand and build contingency plans if your shipments have been affected as a result of industrial action in Europe.




  • Russia and China are working together to develop a bridge between the two countries.
    • The bridge will mean that rail operators can save 2,000km on some routes.
    • The project will link Mohe, China’s northernmost city with the town of Dzhalinda, on Russia’s north-east border. 
    • According to a representative of the Republic of Sakha, Russia, ‘the bridge will increase the capacity to export goods to up to 10m tonnes a year’. 


Central China to USA and Europe 

  • Due to a runway repair at PVG Airport, flights have been reduced. 
    • Available space this week has been reduced from SHA to Europe and the US so please book cargo in advance. 
    • From NGB to Europe and the US, rates have increased this week. 

North China to USA and Europe 

  • From TSN to Europe and the US,  rates are still fluctuating, much like last week. 
    • Space is limited so please book 4-5 days in advance from TSN to Europe. 
      • The main services on this lane include Air China, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines. 
      • Korean Air and Asiana Airlines can provide freight flights that can offer an earlier estimated time of departure and arrival. 
    • Space is also limited from TSN to the US. For better rates, please book 6-7 days in advance. 
      • Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Cathay Pacific are the main services on this lane. 
      • Korean Air and Asiana Airlines can provide freight flights that can offer an earlier estimated time of departure and arrival. 
  • From PEK to Europe, space is still tight this week. For better rates, please book for 4-5 days in advance. 
    • Special rates can be applied to heavy dense cargo. Please check on a case-by-case basis. 
  • From PEK to the US, capacity is limited. For better rates please book 6-7 days ahead in advance. 
    • Service is restricted and some carriers have taken on less volume. Some carriers have even cancelled or rescheduled their flights. 
    • Estimated flight schedule can not be confirmed as a result. 

South China to USA and Europe 

  • From  CAN to Europe and the USA space is good, but after Wednesday space availability may tighten forcing rates higher. 
  • From SZX to Europe space is quite tight and rates will need to be checked with carriers on a case-by-case basis. 
    • Rates have increased from SZX to the US. 
  • Rates have increased from XMN to Europe and space is tight this week.
    • But rates are stable to LHR. 
  • Final rates from XMN to the US depend on a case-by- case basis so please check with your carrier. 


  • Here are the latest vessel waiting times at US ports:
    • In New York, there is a 1 day waiting time. 
    • Most vessels are expected to berth on arrival or within half a day in Norfolk. Vessels may experience a 1 to 1.5 day delay for berthing. 
    • Waiting times are between half a day to 1 day at Charleston. 
    • Vessels are waiting for up to 2 days at the ports of Savannah and Oakland.
  • The Port of Los Angeles dwell times for local import cargo is 3 days
    • On-dock rail dwell is 3.4 days and the time it takes to deliver to final warehouse is averaging at 8.5 days.
  • Dwell times at the Port of Long Beach is stable with the average terminal turn time ranging between 30-66 minutes.


  • An update from Hapag-Lloyd on the ports in Europe include:
    • At the PSA terminal at Antwerp, yard utilisation at 913 is between 60-65%. 
      • At 869, the yard is at an operational level of 60-65%.
        • Due to pier works at 869, the berth capacity has been reduced by 400 metres.
      • The empty storage area on both terminals is between 45-60%. 
      • Labour availability is at a sufficient level. 
    • At the AGW terminal, yard level is at 55-65%. Reefer plug capacity is between 40-55% and empty storage is at 80-85%. 
      • The terminal is operating well with sufficient labour availability. 
      • Two new gantry cranes are expected to arrive at the terminal which may improve operations. 
    • At the ECT terminals in Rotterdam, yard utilisation is at 60-65% and reefer plug utilisation is at 70-75%. 
      • Labour is at a good level, sometimes at an excess. 
      • At the RWG terminal, yard levels are averaging between 65 – 70% and reefer plug utilisation is between 50-55%.  
      • Import dwell times are at a good level and terminal operations are running smoothly. 


  • The UK and Welsh government have announced that they will be working together to deliver two freeports. 
    • The Celtic Freeport and Anglesey Freeport are expected to be operational later this year.
    • Freeports are special areas within the UK’s borders where different economic regulations apply.
      • They aim to create economic activity such as trade, investment and jobs near shipping ports or airports. 
      • Goods that are imported into freeports are exempt from tariffs.
    • The UK is allocating £26m of government funding to each freeport which will help level up opportunities in Wales and create new, high-skilled jobs. 


  • Transport for London (TFL) are looking to make changes to the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) scheme from October 2024.
    • The DVS scheme requires operators of lorries over 12 tonnes gross vehicle weight to obtain a safety permit before entering and operating in Greater London. 
      • Failing to comply with his regulation means that operators will receive a penalty charge notice. 
    • TFL is consulting on fundamental changes they propose to make including:
      • The requirements of the HGV Safety Permit Scheme will increase from one star to three stars.
      • A ‘Progressive Safe System’ has been proposed which looks at developments in technology and equipment as well as reviewing the current ‘Safe System’.
    • TFL have invited the public to have their say on their proposed plans here. 

European Bank Holidays

We anticipate a shortage of availability and the occurrence of delays around the bank holiday periods. Plan ahead and allow extra time for your products to be delivered.

March 31 – Malta 


April 1 – Cyprus

April 6 – Denmark, Portugal*, Spain

April 7 – Austria*, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France*, Germany, Hungary, Ireland (Eire)*, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands*, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden. 

April 8 – Sweden*

April 9 – Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Fermand*, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden

April 10 – Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland (Eire)*, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta*, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain*, Sweden. 

April 14 – Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Romania

April 15 – Bulgaria, Cyprus*

April 16 – Bulgaria, Cyprus*, Greece, Romania

April 17 – Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Romania

April 18 – Cyprus*

April 21 – Spain*

April 22 – Spain*

April 24 – Spain*

April 25 – Italy, Portugal

April 27 – Netherlands, Slovenia

*Not in all regions

The route ahead

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