Zencargo Market Update: 4th AprilApr 04, 2022
In focus: Normality for port and shipping congestion has been pushed back to 2023 as disruptions continue to affect the market
The COVID-19 lockdowns in China and the war in Ukraine are the latest disruptions that are creating challenges for container flows.
Vessel availability is a prime issue as shown in February as 11.6% of the global fleet of vessels were unavailable. The challenge was even greater in January as vessel unavailability was at 13.5% as they were stuck in port congestion. Although schedule reliability is slowly improving, it still remains at low levels.
The combination of low schedule reliability, sudden disruptions in the market and high consumer demand means that port congestion may not see normality until 2023.
- A rise in COVID-19 cases has caused Shanghai, China to go into lockdown.
- From 31st March, all port depots have closed and there are currently no container pick-ups from ports.
- Shanghai ports are operating at 50% capacity due to COVID restrictions which have hit the area.
- The market is seeing volumes being pushed towards alternative ports that are not under lockdown restrictions such as Ningbo and Yantian.
- The Shanghai lockdown has been extended indefinitely, causing further uncertainty over Chinese supply chains.
- See below for equipment availability
- Airlines are cancelling cargo flights from Shanghai Pudong (PVG) due to the COVID restrictions that have been placed on the city.
- Cargolux has announced it would suspend PVG flights until at least 2nd April.
- This is due to the lack of manpower caused by the urgent lockdown. This will result in a more severe shortage of capacity to and from PVG.
- Trucking services are still available in China main ports and nearby cities provided that drivers can produce a negative Nucleic Acid Test, which is requested by local governments.
- There is uncertainty as to how much trucking capacity is available as the conditions can change rapidly.
- Therefore, even if terminals are fully operational, they are still faced with the disruptions from landside transportation.
- Due to service reliability challenges, MSC has increased calls at Mundra Port instead of multiple port calls.
- This has seen many sailings on MSC’s premier routings under its US East Coast and Europe trade routes to skip Nhava Sheva/Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in recent weeks.
- Although the flow of empty containers into the Indian market has expanded, Indian exporters are having a harder time shipping goods out of the country due to schedule disruptions.
- Port congestion has improved on the US West Coast but it is worsening on the US East Coast.
- There are currently just over 40 containerships waiting for a berth on the US West Coast. This has decreased from 109 earlier in January.
- The Port of Los Angeles has said that wait times are now averaging 3.2 days awaiting berths.
- However, US East Coast ports are seeing increases in port congestion. The Port of Charleston is experiencing the worst congestion at the moment as approximately 30 vessels are waiting for a berth.
- Ports and terminal operators at US West Coast ports are raising the alarm over rising container dwell times caused by lack of rail equipment, slowing the unloading of containerships.
- The Port of Long Beach has raised concerns over the lack of capacity to accommodate incoming shipments as boxes are staying longer on terminals before they get moved to the interior.
- Average container dwell times at Long Beach rose from 3.5 days in January to 5.2 days in February this year. This increased even further to 7 days in March.
- The problem lies with the increase in imports at the port and the lack of available rail equipment to handle the imports.
- Sanctions against Russia have created a backlog of 4,500 shipping containers at the Port of Rotterdam.
- Amid sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine, Russian-linked containers are set aside for inspection in order to certify that the movement of containers comply with the sanctions that have been imposed.
- These containers need to be isolated and then they go through physical inspections before they can be released.
- Earlier this month, the EU expanded its list of sanctions against Russia to restrict the export of luxury-made goods to the country.
The Port of Dover faces disruptions that are impacting trade routes and travel plans.
Freight drivers are experiencing 9 hour wait times on the roads approaching the port and the delays are expected to continue for days.
The biggest disruption could be to imported goods. Simultaneously, exported goods are also caught up in the gridlock, however, most of the vehicles aim to return to Europe to pick up more deliveries for the UK market.
Fuel costs continue to rise despite cuts to duty
The latest prices at the pumps in bulk and on the forecourt suggest that the 5p per litre fuel duty cut announced last Wednesday is currently having little impact. Gains in wholesale prices have exceeded the duty loss and the price of Brent crude still averages more than $120 per barrel.
The average price of diesel is up by nearly 50p per litre now within a year – with no signs of prices easing despite the duty cut. There was also no delay in the ban to red diesel in April – as called for by the RHA in the Spring Statement – which will further put pressure on the fuel costs of the commercial vehicle sector.
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.
April 7th – CH*
April 8th – DE*
April 10th – BA*, ES*
April 14th – DK, ES, NO
April 15th – AD, CH, CZ, DE, DK, ES, EE, FI, GB, HU, LV, NO, NL, PT, SE, SK
April 16th – DK
April 17th – BA, DE, DK, EE, FI, HU, IT, LT, LV, NO, NL, PT, PL, SE, SI
April 18th – AT, AD, BE, BA, CH, CZ, DE, DK, ES, FR, FI, FL, GB, HU, HR, IT, IE, LU, LT, LV, NO, NL, PL, SE, SK, SI
April 22nd – BG, BA, GR, ME, RO, RS
April 23rd – BG, TR
April 24th – BG, GR, MD, RO, RS, UA
April 25th – BG, BA, GR, IT, MD, ME, PT, RO, RS, UA
April 27th – NL, SI
*Not in all regions
The route ahead
The information that is available in the Weekly Market Update comes from a variety of online sources, partners and our won teams. Click below to learn more about how Zencargo can help make your supply chain your competitive advantage.
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