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Freight & Logistics Update 25 January 2024

Freight & Logistics Update 25 January 2024

Dear Clients & Partners,

We hope you’ve had a wonderful week so far! Please find below the Freight & Logistics Update for the week. 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.

SOUTH AFRICA

DURBAN
Port berthing delays continue to be experienced due to high levels of congestion. The port has reported windy weather during the week.

Pier 1 : Up to 7 days
Pier 2 : Up to 20 days
Durban Point : 3 days

CAPE TOWN
The port has reported strong winds during the first half of the week resulting in periods of port closure. Port berthing delays are expected to increase due to this.

CTCT : Up to 14 days
MPT : Up to 10 days

PORT ELIZABETH
The port has reported windy weather during the week.

PECT : 0-2 days
NCT : 3 days

 

AFRICA & INDIAN OCEAN ISLANDS

ANGOLA
Increased berthing delays of 14 days experienced at Luanda port. Congestion levels have risen at the port.

GHANA
Berthing delays of 5 days experienced at Tema port.

IVORY COAST
Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Abidjan port.

KENYA
Berthing delays of 6 days experienced at Mombasa port.

MAURITIUS
Berthing delays of 10 days experienced at Port Louis. The port is currently experiencing high levels of congestion due to cyclonic weather conditions. Port closure experienced during the week. Delays into and out of Mauritius are expected due to he adverse weather conditions.

MOZAMBIQUE
Berthing delays of 10 days experienced at Maputo port.

NAMIBIA
Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at Walvis Bay port.

NIGERIA
Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at Apapa port.

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

 

NORTH AMERICA

CANADA

Montreal
Berthing delays of 3 days experienced at this port. Bad weather continues on the North Atlantic Ocean, and this is having a mild impact on vessel schedules through Montreal.

Toronto
Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at this port.

Vancouver
Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at this port. Due to adverse weather conditions and significant snow buildup, all Port Terminals in Vancouver are experiencing delays and/or suspension of operations for snow clearance.

USA

Terminals Updates:

  • New York/New Jersey – Vessel waiting time is up to 4 days.
  • Norfolk – Vessel waiting time is up to 5 days. Berth congestion has relaxed overall but it is expected to worsen after severe weather delays experienced.
  • Savannah – Vessel waiting time is up to 6 days. Berth 2 is back on line helping to reduce waiting times.
  • Charleston – Vessel waiting time is up to 5 days.
  • Miami/Port Everglades – Vessel waiting time is up to 3 days.
  • Houston – Vessel waiting time is up to 2 days. Due to vessel bunching, the yard is facing congestion impacting the discharge productivity and extending port stays.
  • Los Angeles/ Long Beach – Vessel waiting time is up to 1 day.
  • Seattle – Vessel waiting time is up to 10 days.
  • Oakland – Vessel waiting time is up to 4 days. TraPac has received 6 new RTG’s and are in process of commissioning.

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.
  • UP/LAX/LGB – Rail ramp is currently experiencing congestion in Los Angeles. There are delays in picking-up and delivering containers at this location.

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

 

LATIN AMERICA

BRAZIL
Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Santos port. Carrier scheduling out of the region has become erratic resulting in delays noted on original planned sailing dates. This is due delays experienced at South African ports affecting the vessel rotation between Brazil and South Africa.

 

NORTH WEST CONTINENT, UNITED KINGDOM, MEDITERRANEAN

BELGIUM
Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Antwerp port. PSA 913: Operational challenges after a ship caused accident led to a collapse of a crane but productivity at berth has returned to good levels.

FRANCE
Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Le Havre port. Labour restored to normal levels after the end of winter vacations. No operational challenges to report.

GERMANY
Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at Hamburg port and 4 days at Bremerhaven port. CTA & CTB: Strong winds expected over the weekend which are expected to pose a challenge to vessel arrivals and departures.

ITALY
Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at Genova port and 1 day at La Spezia port.

NETHERLANDS
Berthing delays of 3 days experienced at Rotterdam port.

SPAIN
Berthing delays of 5 days experienced at Barcelona port.

SWEDEN
Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Gothenburg port.

TURKEY
Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at Istanbul port.

UNITED KINGDOM
Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at London Gateway port. Pilot stations stable for the week, no operational closures to report.

 

INDIAN SUB-CONTINENT & MIDDLE EAST

INDIA
Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Nhava Sheva and Mundra ports, while Chennai is experiencing delays of 2 days.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Jebel Ali port.

 

ASIA PACIFIC (Including Oceania)

Hazardous commodity acceptance out of China remains a challenge as approval for loading remains subject to carriers’ stringent acceptance protocols.

Carrier capacity constraints are being experienced ex China ports due to blank sailings announced and upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations.

HONG KONG
Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at this port. Feeder services into and out of Hong Kong will be suspended during Chinese New Year 2024.

KOREA
Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Busan port.

MALAYSIA
Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Port Kelang.

NANSHA
Berthing delays of 3 days experienced at this port.

QINGDAO
Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at this port.

SHANGHAI / NINGBO
Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Shanghai and Ningbo ports. Both ports experienced intermittent port closure due to strong winds.

SHEKOU / YANTIAN
No berthing delays experienced at Yantian port, while Shekou port has a berthing delay of 1 day.

XIAMEN
Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at this port.

XINGANG
Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at this port.

SINGAPORE
Berthing delay of 1 day being experienced at this port. No delays experienced for transshipment cargo. Delays are expected for FCL containers transshipping in Singapore. Expected delays have increased to 2-3 weeks.

TAIWAN
Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Kaohsiung port.

THAILAND
Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Bangkok port.

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

NEWS ARTICLES

Durban Container Terminal prepares for citrus season
Date: 19th January 2024

Durban Container Terminal (DCT) Pier 2 is prioritising terminal fluidity with a rail link solution to reduce truck congestion on roads around the port ahead of the upcoming citrus season.

Transnet’s DCT management said in a statement that the terminal was providing a rail link solution for customers’ import containers to a back-of-port facility seven kilometres from the terminal, as a means of reducing the number of trucks calling at the terminal.

Durban Terminals managing executive Earle Peters said it was important to focus on how the port handled both its waterside and landside traffic, which had led to its “fruitful collaboration with both shipping lines and truckers”. Peters added that customers had been collecting their containers at the back-of-port facility with minimal waiting times and flowing roads in the vicinity since the beginning of January. The back-of-port initiative aims to clear terminal stacks more quickly to improve vessel turnaround time due to the improved capacity on the landside. [1]

USA’s Blinken visits Africa to foster trade and boost infrastructure
Date: 19th January 2024

The United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, will undertake a four-nation African trip this coming week to boost infrastructure investment and trade with the continent. Blinken will travel to Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Angola during the trip.

It comes after 17 Cabinet-level official visits last year as a follow-up to the 2022 US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington. Although no definite plans have been announced, President Joe Biden has expressed his desire to visit Africa this year.

State Department spokesperson, Matthew Miller, said Blinken’s six-day trip would highlight America’s acceleration of the ambitions of the US-Africa partnership since the summit. “He will also emphasise our future-focused economic partnership and how the United States is investing in infrastructure in Africa to boost two-way trade, create jobs at home and on the continent and help Africa compete in the global marketplace,” Miller said.

Asked if countering China’s influence on the continent would be a major theme, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Molly Phee, said this was more of a media preoccupation. “If China didn’t exist, we would be fully engaged in Africa,” she said. “Africa is important for its own sake, and it’s important for American interests.” [2]

Number of ships waiting for Panama transit slashed in half
Date: 18th January 2024

The queue of ships waiting at both ends of the Panama Canal stands at just half the historical average since the waterway expanded back in 2016, highlighting the dramatic shift in seaborne trades in the western hemisphere seen in recent months since authorities slashed daily transit numbers as well as the maximum draft.

The latest data from the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) shows there are just 45 ships in the queue awaiting transit, exactly 50% less than the historical average of the last eight years. At the worst of the canal congestion last August there were more than 160 ships waiting at which point the canal’s administrators let it be known that the restrictions would be in place for many months to come leading to the shipping industry deciding en masse to seek alternative routes.

For the ships waiting for a northbound trip today, however, they are in for a long wait. The average days in the queue of non-booked vessels for northbound vessels stand at 15.1 days, while southbound ships only have to hang around for 3.6 days, according to data from the ACP.

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) increased daily transits to 24 this month following solid amounts of rain over the past seven weeks. The measure replaces the previous announcement that forecasted daily transits at 20 slots for January and 18 slots for February. [3]

Australian port strike peace talks fail, and government won’t intervene
Date: 18th January 2024

A meeting on the 18th of January between DP World Australia, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and Australian transport minister Tony Burke has proved unsuccessful, and the port strikes will go on to the end of the month.

Dock workers throughout Australia have been striking since October in a pay dispute against port operator DP World. DP world estimated this has cost the economy A$1.34bn.

The meeting resulted in Mr Burke refusing to intervene, despite being requested to do so by DP World and multiple stakeholders in Australian shipping. This led the MUA again extending strike action to 30 January.

Maersk warned customers today that port operations at Sydney, Melbourne, Freemantle and Brisbane will see bouts of two-hour work stoppages every day from 22 January.

According to Sky news Australia, Mr Burke said: “”I’ve made clear to both groups today that I have no intention of intervening. I’ve made clear that I have an expectation that they will reach agreement.” However, he indicated that he sympathised with the union. “I think Australians are sick to death of having highly profitable companies say everything is the fault of them having to pay their workforce the same as their competitors.”

The director of Australian freight forwarder Neolink, Sean Crook: “This is a situation that the government cannot avoid and have to get involved at some point. At the moment, you have a stalemate between an overseas-controlled entity not budging, the union wanting significant pay increases and a government refusing to play mediator – all the while Australian consumers and businesses have to deal with inefficient supply chains and increased costs, which ultimately will not allow us to compete on the global stage.” [4]

Maritime traffic around South Africa rises dramatically
Date: 18th January 2024

Seaborne traffic sailing around South Africa has risen by a remarkable 53% in the past three months as the world witnesses a sea change to the global liner trade map.

This finding was based on exclusive data compiled by the ocean freight trade analytics platform Sea Live, comparing maritime traffic in the second week of October last year to the second week of January.

In stark contrast to this increase, there has been a significant drop in maritime traffic between the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aden because of Houthi rebels attacking maritime vessels in the Red Sea.

Some of the largest players in the industry has confirmed this changing pattern in sea trade, including Japan’s Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line). All three have suspended navigation through the Red Sea.

Ominously, at this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Maersk CEO Vincent Clerc cautioned that the disruptions will continue for some time.

Not using the Suez Canal means a vessel from the UK’s Port of Felixstowe, heading towards Mumbai in India, has to complete a journey of 19 800 kilometres compared to 11 600km via the Mediterranean-Suez-Arabian Sea route. On average, such a voyage could take more than 33 days at sea, whereas a Suez sailing could take about 17 days or less. [5]

Spot rates from Asia ‘out of control’: pre-CNY quotes of $10,000+ reported
Date: 19th January 2024

Container spot rates from Asia to the US and Europe continued to soar this week as a swift solution to the attacks on shipping in the Red Sea by Houthi rebels looks increasingly unlikely.

Moreover, reports to The Loadstar suggest that some shippers of low-rated contract cargo are seeing their allocations slashed by up to 80% by their carriers, forcing them onto the spot market.

Xeneta’s XSI Asia-North Europe spot component jumped 25%, for an average of $4,612 per 40ft, representing a month-on-month increase of nearly 200%.

However, for shipments before the Chinese New Year, which commences on 10 February, some carriers are touting rates in excess of $10,000 per 40ft.

One UK-based NVOCC director told The Loadstar he had decided only to ship his most urgent boxes before CNY, on the basis that rates should go down in the traditionally slack period following the Holiday.

Elsewhere, transpacific spot rates from Asia to North America are “out of control”, according to a UK forwarder contact currently in Shanghai. “The lines are charging what they like at the moment, whether that is to the west or east coast, the market has been taken over by a return of the pandemic ‘fear factor’ of not getting product shipped,” said the forwarder.

And transpacific carriers are still in the process of raising their rates, with further FAK (freight all kinds) hikes planned for 1 and 15 February. [6]

No relief for carriers in Red Sea as attacks continue and tension rises
Date: 18th January 2024

Attacks have continued against merchant vessels transiting the Red Sea, despite missile strikes by British and US forces, with a UK minister saying the industry must adapt.

Yesterday saw Iran-backed Houthi militia targeting a US-flagged vessel and the US military launching strikes on Houthi sites in Yemen.

However, the US strikes, the fourth in as many days, part of the joint UK-US Operation Prosperity Guardian, have seemingly failed to restore the faith of vessel owners.

According to data compiled by Alphaliner, by Monday, 338 vessels had diverted around the Cape of Good Hope, 192 on westbound voyages and 146 heading east.

Added to this has been rising regional tension, exacerbated by Iranian strikes against militants in Pakistan and retaliation.

Forwarder association Fiata has called on governments and key industry decision-makers to develop tools for global monitoring and to provide a coordinated effort to facilitate maritime transport in the region, as surcharges continue to drive costs up.

UK business minister Nusrat Ghani yesterday said there were limits to what governments could do, urging businesses to adapt to the continuing uncertainty. Ms Ghani told a UK newspaper: “It is first and foremost for business to manage supply chains, with government intervention reserved for those areas where it is necessary, such as in cases of market failure.” [7]

Maersk/Hapag Gemini Cooperation takes liner industry by surprise
Date: 17th January 2024

Ahead of the divorce from 2M Alliance partner MSC, Maersk has turned the head of THE Alliance lead line Hapag-Lloyd to form a new long-term operational collaboration.

The ‘Gemini Cooperation’ will start in February 2025. The agreement represents a u-turn by Maersk, which had said its integrator strategy “did not fit” with vessel sharing, and will come as a shock to Hapag-Lloyd’s THEA partners, ONE, Yang Ming and HMM.

The break-up of the 2M was announced on 25 January last year, shortly after MSC passed Maersk to become the world’s largest container carrier, and will officially cease in January next year. In the interim, the two lines have more or less split their east-west loops into services deploying either Maersk- or MSC-operated vessels.

The new Gemini Cooperation between Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd will cover seven trades: Asia-US west coast; Asia-US east coast; Asia-Middle East; Asia-Mediterranean; Asia-North Europe; Middle East/India-Europe; and the transatlantic.

It will comprise 26 mainline services, supported by a network of dedicated shuttle services, centred around owned or controlled transhipment hubs and will deploy around 290 vessels, with a combined capacity of 3.4m teu, of which 60% will be supplied by Maersk and 40% by Hapag-Lloyd.

Today’s announcement has taken the industry by surprise, particularly as, according to MSC CEO Soren Toft, Maersk instigated the 2M split and said it was not interested in joining a new vesselsharing agreement. Indeed, Maersk’s CEO Vincent Clerc told analysts and investors on a number of occasions following the decision to dissolve the 2M that the carrier was not seeking to join or form another VSA. Now he says Hapag-Lloyd is “the ideal partner on our strategic journey” and would “raise the bar for reliability in the industry”. [8]

Scheduling chaos puts carriers under pressure from shippers
Date: 16th January 2024

Carriers are coming under some pressure from their major VIP shippers to announce temporary network changes, so that their supply chains can be adjusted to match.

Amid the scheduling chaos caused by diversions and delays, carriers continue to issue blank sailing announcements for Asian export loaders, even though the backhaul sailings of the voided ships will be weeks late. And shippers are complaining that carriers are spending most of their time implementing surcharges and rate hikes, instead of announcing arrival updates.

“The information flow from some carriers is pretty poor at the best of times, but with the Suez Canal diversions it has sunk to new levels,” a director of a UK-based NVOCC told The Loadstar. “We are getting very different arrival times from different carriers that have loaded on the same vessel, and nobody seems to have a clue what the plans are – one line is telling me one thing and another says something quite different,” he said.

He also complained about the poor information on carrier websites: “There are a few that are quite good in showing regular updates of ETAs at first port of discharge, but then there are several others so out of date that you wouldn’t even know that there was a problem in the Red Sea!”

It follows that the majority of containerships serving Asia-North Europe, the Mediterranean and allwater transpacific strings to the US east coast will continue to divert around the Cape of Good Hope, requiring carriers to deploy significant additional tonnage.

Re-routing Asia-Europe loops adds around 10 days to North Europe head haul voyages and 13 days to the Mediterranean, with roundtrip transits extended by some 20 and 26 days respectively. It is estimated that carriers will need to inject some 70 extra vessels into their networks to maintain their proforma weekly services if, as looks increasingly likely, their loops are obliged to omit the Suez Canal for some time. [9]

Container shortage starts to bite, adding to pressure on costs
Date: 15th January 2024

The predicted container shortages are beginning to bite amid the chaos thrown up in the Red Sea and a flurry of re-routings, delays and cancellations. And the shortages could catch the industry out, says global development director at CargoGulf HansHenrik Nielsen, despite predictions in past weeks.

Mr Nielsen told The Loadstar: “Most people read about it, perhaps even think ‘okay, it sounds like a problem, but probably not as big a deal as the carriers make it sound’.” However, Mr Nielsen warned that, despite being a “small” player, specialising on the Asia-Europe and Asia-Gulf trades, CargoGulf was now seeing the problems.

“It is getting increasingly difficult to get 40ft high-cube boxes, and also 20ft general purpose boxes, across the main ports in China,” he said. “We are empty-repositioning as fast as we can, and we have also taken on the very last batches of new-lease containers, but from today, there are no more … there are ‘out of stock’ signs on the doors of leasing companies.”

Other forwarders are seeing similar issues, one telling The Loadstar crises like that in the Red Sea compound structural inefficiencies surrounding the repositioning of empties. Another added that he was beginning to see issues with export boxes at North China feeder ports – “nothing major” yet, but the forwarder added it was indicative of a pending equipment shortage. [10]

SOURCES & REFERENCES

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

[1] https://www.freightnews.co.za/article/durban-container-terminal-prepares-citrus-season
[2] https://www.freightnews.co.za/article/blinken-visits-africa-foster-trade-and-boost-infrastructure
[3] https://splash247.com/ships-waiting-for-panama-transit-slashed-in-half/
[4] https://theloadstar.com/australian-port-strike-peace-talks-fail-and-government-wont-intervene/
[5] https://www.freightnews.co.za/article/maritime-traffic-around-south-africa-rises-dramatically
[6] https://theloadstar.com/spot-rates-from-asia-out-of-control-pre-cny-quotes-of-10000-reported/
[7] https://theloadstar.com/no-relief-for-carriers-in-red-sea-as-attacks-continue-and-tension-rises/
[8] https://theloadstar.com/maersk-hapag-gemini-cooperation-takes-liner-industry-by-surprise/
[9] https://theloadstar.com/scheduling-chaos-puts-carriers-under-pressure-from-shippers/
[10] https://theloadstar.com/container-shortage-starts-to-bite-adding-to-pressure-on-costs/

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.