Freight & Logistics Update – 15 March 2024

Freight & Logistics Update – 15 March 2024

Good Day Clients & Partners

We hope you’ve had an excellent week so far. Please find below the latest Freight & Logistics Update. The Inter-Sped team are ready to jump for you – so don’t hesitate to contact us for any of your freight and logistics needs.



Increased levels of congestion noted at the terminals in Durban. The port reported windy weather during the week.

  • Pier 1 : 3-5 days
  • Pier 2 : 24-28 days
  • Durban Point : 3 days


Port berthing delays remain stable with no improvement noted. The port has reported windy weather during the week.

  • CTCT : Upto 7 days
  • MPT : Upto 5 days


The port has reported strong winds during the week resulting in increased berthing delays experienced.

  • PECT : 2-4 days
  • NCT : 1-3 days



  • Berthing delays of 4 days experienced at Luanda port.


  • Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at Tema port.


  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Abidjan port.


  • Berthing delays of 3 days experienced at Mombasa port.


  • Berthing delays of 4 days experienced at Port Louis.


  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Maputo port.


  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Walvis Bay port.


  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Apapa port. Please take note of road maintenance taking place on the Ijora / Apapa bridge. This bridge is the connection to Lilypond Park where truck call ups and pre gates are issued to transporters to access APMT, Apapa Port. As a result of the bridge closure, movement in and out of the port has been streamlined to one lane resulting in traffic gridlock and congestion. These challenges will result in delays in container transfers to and from the port and may result in additional charges being raised.


  • Berthing delays of 14 days experienced at Dar es Salaam port.




  • Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at this port. Bad weather on the North Atlantic Ocean continues to have a minor impact on vessel schedules through Montreal.


  • Berthing delays of 10 days experienced at this port.


  • Berthing delays of 4 days experienced at this port. All marine terminals in Vancouver are facing heavy congestion, resulting from an inadequate supply of rail cars from major Class 1 railways.


Terminals Updates:

  • New York/New Jersey – Vessel waiting time is up to 2 days.
  • Norfolk – Vessel waiting time is up to 2 days.
  • Savannah – Vessel waiting time is up to 8 days. Frequent river closures are expected due to fog during the week.
  • Charleston – Vessel waiting time is up to 2 days. Dock construction at Wando Welch terminal is starting in March 2024, reducing from 3 to 2 berths for one year. Berths will be given on a first come, first serve basis.
  • Miami/Port Everglades – Vessel waiting time is up to 8 days.
  • Houston – Vessel waiting time is up to 2 days. Bad weather in the Gulf of Mexico continues to cause closures at ports south of Houston and delays on arrival, on short notice.
  • Los Angeles/Long Beach – Vessel waiting time is up to 1 day.
  • Seattle – Vessel waiting time is up topicking up 3 days. Terminal 18 will be closed on Fridays through March and April 1, 2024. Husky terminals will be closed on March 11, 2024.
  • Oakland – Vessel waiting time is up to 2 days. OICT – Berth 55 is operational. Hoot shifts are being worked to help alleviate the backlog of vessels waiting for berthing.

Rail Updates:

  • BNSF – Rail ramp is currently experiencing congestion in Chicago, Columbus, and Los Angeles. There are delays in picking-up and delivering containers at these locations.

Equipment Availability:

  • Due to persistent congestion nationwide, chassis shortages continue to be observed resulting in potential delays for pick-up and delivery.



  • Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at Santos port. Carrier scheduling remains erratic out of this country.



  • Berthing delays of 3 days experienced at Antwerp port.


  • Finland advising that there will be a 2-week strike between 11th and 24th March 2024 at the port of Helsinki. During this time, collection and delivery services may be affected.


  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Le Havre port. No further strikes announced.


  • Berthing delays of 5 days experienced at Hamburg port and 3 days at Bremerhaven port. CTA: Terminal started with shore power installations beginning of March, which slightly reduces berth availability, no impact to operations for the week. CTB: Ongoing shore power construction with challenges to operations for all piers at CTB but currently low impact as the construction moves around the vessel arrivals.


  • Berthing delays of 3 days experienced at Genova port and 7 days at La Spezia port. Genoa PSA GP (vte): Due to civil works ongoing in the area nearby Genoa SECH port terminal (Parco Rugna), Port Authority confirmed that for safety reasons, rail operations at SECH must be suspended with immediate effect till the end of renewal works, expected by March 20, 2024. During this period, for all vessels calling Sech terminal containers will be to be managed from / to Milan and Lombardian Area at the standard Combined Rail conditions.


  • Berthing delays of 3 days experienced at Rotterdam port.


  • Berthing delays of 3 days experienced at Barcelona port.


  • Berthing delays of 3 days experienced at Gothenburg port.


  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Istanbul port.


  • Berthing delays of 3 days experienced at London Gateway port. New cranes delivered and are expected to be commissioned within 3 weeks. High amount of vessel calls this week due to delayed arrivals are stressing the berth line-up with a small backlog. Backlog is expected to be cleared by end of week 11.



  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Nhava Sheva port, 2 days at Mundra port and no delays experienced at Chennai port.


  • Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at Jebel Ali port.

ASIA PACIFIC (Including Oceania)    

Carrier capacity constraints are slightly improving from the region following Chinese and Lunar New Year.


  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at this port.


  • Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at Busan port. Experiencing a bunching of vessels.


  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Port Kelang.


  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at this port.


  • Berthing delays of 4 days experienced at this port.


  • Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at Ningbo port and 1 day at Shanghai port.


  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Yantian port and no delays at Shekou port.


  • Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at this port.


  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at this port.


  • Berthing delay of 1 day being experienced at this port. Delays experienced due to bunching of vessels and yard congested caused by heavy volume discharge. FCL containers transshipping in Singapore have expected delays of 1-2 weeks.


  • Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at Kaohsiung port.


  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Bangkok port.


  • Berthing delays of 1 day experienced at Ho Chi Minh and Hai Phong ports.


Transport cost rises inevitable

Date: 7th March 2024

Transporters are implementing multiple measures to reduce the impact of rising fuel prices but will soon be forced to pass on the higher cost of doing business to customers, leading to retailers’ hiking the prices of basic goods from groceries to clothing.

Road Freight Association CEO, Gavin Kelly, raised this concern after the latest fuel price hike took effect on Wednesday, 6 March. The price of diesel increased R1,05 for 500ppm and R1,18 for 50ppm, while the price of petrol (93 and 95 octane) rose by R1,21 per litre.

“While South Africa cannot control the demand, and therefore the dollar price per barrel that we must pay, we could control the value of the rand versus the dollar, allegedly something to do with the way the country is seen across the world.”

“Any gains achieved during 2023 are steadily being eroded and road freight companies will now be faced with the reality of having to increase pricing to cover the ever-increasing cost of diesel,” he said.

“In the short term, general transport costs will rise from food to fuel, from clothing to electronic goods and everything in between. There will be the inevitable price escalations – some immediately, but more so a domino effect will ensue; the next in a long line of such domino effects that we have seen too often in the last few months. [1]

US cyber experts probe suspect modems on China-made cranes

Date: 08th March 2024

Communications equipment found on Chinese-manufactured quay cranes in the US has prompted fresh fears of espionage. Equipment manufactured by state-owned ZPMC, one of the world’s biggest crane builders, has come under scrutiny at US ports.

A congressional probe found, at one port, 12 cellular modems on crane equipment and another in the port’s server room; the port authorities maintaining they had not specified that the cranes have these capabilities and saying they did not know why the communications equipment had been installed.

While the ports under investigation have not been identified, ZPMC cranes are known to be operated at terminals at Los Angeles, New York/New Jersey, Oakland, Houston, Miami and many others.

But the concern is that, not only could cranes be used by the Chinese government to amass strategic data on US cargo movements, but in the event of a major conflict – say an attempt by China to annex Taiwan – a Chinese ‘kill-switch’ could effectively blockade America.

But Mao Ning, spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, said: “The accusation that China-made cranes pose security risks is completely unfounded. We firmly oppose the US… abusing state power to go after Chinese products and companies. Weaponising economic and trade issues will exacerbate security risks in global industrial and supply chains and inevitably backfire. [2]

Panama Canal Drought Issues Improved, But Not Eradicated

Date: 04 th March 2024

The Panama Canal, one the world’s largest shipping gateways is plagued by drought issues, adding another factor in the shipping market’s freight rate equation.

In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Gibson said that “the Panama Canal stands as one of the world’s most vital intercontinental waterways, playing an important role in facilitating global trade, particularly along the routes connecting the Americas and Asia. However, in recent years, a combination of climate change and structural factors have posed significant challenges to the maritime trade passing through this essential artery”.

According to Gibson, “climate change has significantly impacted the water levels of Lake Gatun, one of the two natural lakes of the Panama Canal system. It’s plausible to suggest that only the onset of the monsoon season can alleviate the pressure on lake water levels.

Looking ahead, whilst weather forecasts the situation may improve by mid-2024, climate scientists suggest that rainfall patterns are more likely to deviate from historical norms, leading to increased volatility and unpredictability in freight costs for those who rely on the waterway”. [3]

China reopens after Chinese New Year, Container rates plateau

Date: 05th March 2024

Persistent geopolitical tensions in eastern Europe and the Middle East, have led to shifts in trade patterns, requiring industry players to redesign supplier mix for their supply chain. “We are uncertain about who to partner with and who to discontinue our associations with. The situation is getting trickier for us as freight forwarders due to the ongoing war in the Middle East, leading to fewer partners in the east. The risks of sanctions and increased uncertainty are significant factors driving our need for trusted partners.” – A freight forwarder from the USA and a Container xChange customer.

The month of February 2024 marked a pivotal moment in the trajectory of container leasing and trading rates, which had been on the rise since past three months (starting November 2023), coinciding with the onset of the Red Sea crisis. This inflection point closely aligned with our forecast from the preceding months, as Container xChange had anticipated a reduction in demand and subsequently a reduction in average container prices and leasing rates post Chinese New Year.

As the Chinese New Year holiday period concluded and business activities resumed, the rates failed to sustain their upward momentum. Our forecasts predict that the container prices will fall by a measure of 8-16% in the coming two months (March and April 2024) in China going by the cyclic nature of price developments as an impact of the post Chinese New Year demand reduction.

Freight rates immediately and persistently jumped as the world entered the last month of 2023. This timing also coincided with the pre-Lunar New Year rush, which builds up in January and culminates in February. Consequently, the freight rate boom continued well into 2024 as shippers aimed to deliver cargo for the cyclical demand, known as the pre-Chinese New Year rush.

A continued decline in rates is expected, although not crashing. Freight rates typically fall by 30% every year from February to March and into April. Similarly, container rates are expected to fall by a measure of 18-6% depending on locations, with a higher percentage of decline expected in Asia. [4]

CMA CGM resumes some Red Sea transits

Date: 05th March 2024

French shipping line CMA CGM Group has announced that it will attempt transits through the Red Sea after it previously suspended the route because of security concerns in the region. The line made the announcement in an advisory note to customers last week in which it said it had “re-evaluated the situation in the Southern Area of the Red Sea and the evolving conditions allow us to resume transit on a case-by-case basis”.

CMA CGM said it was closely assessing the situation for each vessel before transit and that routing choices could, therefore, not be anticipated or communicated to customers. “Otherwise, all other vessels are rerouted via the Cape of Good Hope,” the line said.

The decision comes after the French navy joined with the European Union, which is launching a defensive operation in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and surrounding region.

France has been operating a warship in the area since December and CMA CGM were previously transiting the region only under escort. However, it later suspended all transits after a vessel it charters was targeted. Denmark and Germany also now have warships operating in the region and Greece is sending a vessel after it was placed in charge of the operation in terms of an EU agreement.[5]

Houthis target another MSC ship with missile attack

Date: 05th March 2024

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have hit another merchant ship and sparked a fire with a missile strike in the Gulf of Aden, according to two UK security consultancies. Ambrey and Vanguard Tech both report that the sub-Panamax boxship MSC Sky II has been hit by a missile and has caught fire.

The master of MSC Sky II reports that the attack involved two missiles: the first went into the water off the vessel’s port quarter, and the second reportedly struck the ship’s accommodations block. No injuries were reported, but the impact started a fire, and the crew were engaged in firefighting as of Monday afternoon. In an update late in the day, U.S. Central Command reported that the MSC Sky did not request assistance and continued on its voyage.

The Houthis assert that their campaign against shipping in the Red Sea is aimed at disrupting Israeli commerce and applying political pressure to halt Israel’s operation in Gaza. [6]


[1] https://www.freightnews.co.za/article/transnet-finalises-dct-privatisation-deal

[2] https://theloadstar.com/us-cyber-experts-probe-suspect-modems-on-china-made-cranes/

[3] https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/panama-canal-drought-issues-improved-but-not-eradicated/

[4] https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/china-reopens-after-chinese-new-year-container-ratesplateau/

[5] https://www.freightnews.co.za/article/cma-cgm-resumes-some-red-sea-transits

[6] https://theloadstar.com/houthis-target-another-msc-ship-with-missile-attack 

SACO CFR | Hapag Lloyd | Maersk | MSC | Transnet | The LoadStar Publications | gCaptain.com | Shipco Transport | Splash247.com | Freightnews | Hellenic Shipping News | Seatrade Maritime News | JAS Newsflash

Please contact your Inter-Sped representative with any urgent queries or freight needs. We continue to monitor the freight world developments closely, and will be in contact with you for updates that concern you.

Best Regards

Linda and the Inter-Sped Team