Freight & Logistics Update – 27 February 2024

Freight & Logistics Update – 27 February 2024

Good Day Clients & Partners,

Please find below the latest Freight & Logistics Update. The Inter-Sped team is ready to jump for you – so don’t hesitate to contact us for any of your freight and logistics needs.



High levels of congestion continue to be experienced at Pier 2. The port reported low wind speeds during the week.

  • Pier 1 : Upto 4 days
  • Pier 2 : Upto 22 days
  • Durban Point : 3 days



Port berthing delays have reduced since week 7. The port has reported strong winds during the week.

  • CTCT : Upto 7 days
  • MPT : 5 days



The port has reported strong winds during the week. No additional delays experienced.

  • PECT : 0-2 days
  • NCT : 1-3 days




  • Berthing delays of 6 days experienced at Luanda port. This is due to congestion being experienced.



  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Tema port.



  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Abidjan port.



  • Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at Mombasa port.



  • Berthing delays of 6-8 days experienced at Port Louis. This is due to Tropical Cyclone Eleanor which made landfall late during week 8. The port, terminal and depots all closed due to a class 2 warning being raised.



  • Berthing delays of 3 days experienced at Maputo port.



  • Berthing delay of 8 days experienced at Walvis Bay port.



  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Apapa port.



  • Berthing delays of 12 days experienced at Dar es Salaam port. Slightly reduced draft at berths 8-11 (10m)






  • 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.



  • Berthing delays of 12 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 3 days. Berth congestion has eased overall.
  • Savannah – Vessel waiting time is up to 10 days.
  • Charleston – Vessel waiting time is up to 3 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 first come, first serve basis.
  • Miami/Port Everglades – Vessel waiting time is up to 2 days.
  • Houston – Vessel waiting time is up to 4 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 upto 4 days. Terminal 18 and Husky terminals will be closed on March 1, 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 5 days experienced at Santos port. Carrier scheduling remains erratic out of this country.




  • Berthing delays of 3 days experienced at Antwerp port. PSA 913: Salvage operation of collapsed crane completed part of the yard still under repair.



  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Le Havre port. All terminals: Strikes on Friday last week with 24 hours of operational interruption but with minimal impact for the vessel line-up. The announced strikes for 22/02 and 27/02 were revoked. Strike is cancelled. High winds this week put some strain on operations but no operational interruptions.



  • Berthing delays of 5 days experienced at Hamburg port and 1 day at Bremerhaven port. CTA: Terminal started with shore power installations on Monday, which slightly reduces berth availability, impact to operations so far minimal. CTB: Ongoing shore power construction with challenges to operations for all piers at CTB but currently low impact.



  • Berthing delays of 4 days experienced at Genova port and 7 days at La Spezia port.



  • Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at Rotterdam port.



  • Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at Barcelona port.



  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Gothenburg port.



  • Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at Istanbul port.



  • Berthing delays of 3 days experienced at London Gateway port. LGP with slight congestion this week because the terminal is receiving new cranes that temporarily reduces berth availability. However, all vessels have a berth window. New cranes are expected to be commissioned within 4 weeks.




  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Nhava Sheva and Chennai ports and 2 days at Mundra port.



  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Jebel Ali port.


ASIA PACIFIC (Including Oceania)    

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



  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at Port Kelang.



  • Berthing delay of 1 day experienced at this port.



  • Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at this port.



  • Berthing delays of 2 days experienced at Ningbo port and 1 day at Shanghai port. Bunching of vessels experienced leading to delays faced.



  • Berthing delays of 7 days experienced at Yantian port and 1 day 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.



Cape Town Container Terminal boosts container volumes:

Date: 23rd February 2024

The Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT) has improved efficiency by boosting its truck handling volumes over the past three weeks. CTCT announced in a statement on Thursday that it had boosted volume throughput by 2 365, from an average of 5 500, to 7 865 containers in three weeks. The terminal also reduced truck turnaround time from 75 minutes during January 15-21, to 51 minutes last week.

Transnet acting Western Cape Terminals managing executive, Oscar Borchards, said the terminal had boosted volumes by optimising its electronic container management system.

“We attribute all our improvements at CTCT mainly to our optimisation of the container management system Navis, which helps to streamline our processes and ensure efficiencies in our operations. In order to support our turnaround strategy, it was critical that we take advantage of an already existing system and reprioritise,” Borchards said. [1]


Transnet focuses on boosting efficiency at Eastern Cape ports:

Date: 22nd February 2024

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) is forging ahead with the implementation of its recovery plan, which focuses on enabling efficient use of port infrastructure and improving operational efficiencies at central region ports.

TNPA highlighted the latest developments being implemented as part of its recovery plan at the ports of East London, Ngqura and Port Elizabeth at a meeting with port users on Wednesday.

Managing Executive for central region ports, Siyabulela Mhlaluka said the plan aimed to ensure the competitiveness of the ports by improving efficiency through ensuring robust port operations oversight, delivery of critical infrastructure, and investment in a reliable marine fleet.

TNPA told port users that its strategic initiatives for East London include the deepening and strengthening of N-berth, the replacement of two graving dock jib cranes for the ship repair facility and the acquisition of two tugboats. These initiatives are aimed at boosting the river port’s marine infrastructure and fleet availability to enable key sectors of the local economy. The N-Berth construction project has commenced and will be completed in October this year, TNPA said.

As part of the plan, the Port of East London’s automotive terminal berth capacity will be expanded to allow for the berthing of modern automotive carriers, while the Port of Ngqura has taken delivery of two of six additional hydraulic tension mooring units that have been operationalised to curb shipping delays caused by inclement weather conditions.

In line with the central region’s focus on enabling the local fishing industry in Nelson Mandela Bay, the project pipeline for the Port of Port Elizabeth includes the completed upgrade of the 1200-tonne slipway and the refurbishment of the Dom Pedro Quay, which is scheduled to start at the end of February 2024. The port will also benefit from eight of the 52 hydraulic tension units that have been procured for ports.

TNPA said its recovery plan for the central ports is aligned with Transnet group’s overall plan, which aims to improve operations and financial sustainability while driving efficiency across the business over 18 months to the end of the 2024/25 financial year. [2]


Praying for rain as record lows loom for Panama Canal and Amazon:

Date: 20th February 2024

Water levels in the Gatun Lake – the man-made reservoir which dictates the navigability of the Panama Canal – are again sinking below the 80ft (24.3 metre) threshold and looking set to pass the record low levels seen last year. Around 8ft lower than ideal for safe navigation, Gatun Lake water levels reached a nadir of 79.24ft in late July and have not recovered much since, reaching a high point of just 81.83ft in November. Traditionally, Gatun reaches its highest watermark in January, before progressing toward its yearly low point in May, after which its topped by up a rainy season which ends in November. However, last month, water levels were dismal, at just 81.7ft, more than five feet below the level in January 2023.

The Panama Canal Authority does not make projections past April, but if established trends hold this year, levels toward mid-2024 will fall well below last year’s record lows, and could reach as low as 78ft – forcing surcharges of some 6.5%. “While the current water deficit persists in the canal watershed, the transit reservation system is the only mechanism available to guarantee a transit date,” said the Panama Canal Administration recently. “Therefore, vessels without a reservation may experience indefinite delays. [3]


Red tape and emissions trading: ETS hits non-EU shipowners hard:

Date: 22nd February 2024

Asian shipowners are likely to be hit the hardest by the cost of the EU ETS, with companies registered in China and Singapore bearing the highest burden.

ETS management platform OceanScore estimated that, once the EU Emissions Trading System was fully implemented, in 2026, shipowners operating voyages to Europe would face emissions liabilities of over €1bn.

The EU ETS came into effect on 1 January, requiring vessel owners to buy EU allowances (EUAs) that correspond with the per-tonne carbon emissions of their ships that call at EU ports. The EUAs act as ‘carbon credit’. The penalty for non-compliance is €100 per missing EUA, plus the purchase of the missing EUAs at the market price on the date of surrender. The EUA price is dictated by supply and demand for them.

OceanScore’s total €1bn cost estimate for Asian shipping is based on a fluctuating EUA price that is currently at a relatively low-level – around €55 per tonne of CO2. OceanScore’s co-MD, Albrecht Grell, said: “A total of nearly 80 million EUAs will have to be surrendered by the shipping industry once the EU ETS is fully phased in, and around 5.5m of these will have to be surrendered by Chinese and Hong Kong-based entities and 5.4m by Singaporean players. When other Asian countries, such as Japan, South Korea, India, Thailand and Malaysia, are included, the total number of EUAs required rises to 20m. [4]


TEU growth rises on the back of trade lane trouble:

Date: 23rd February 2024

A trifecta of shipping disruption – war in Ukraine in its second anniversary on February 29 and its continued impact on sea trade in the Black Sea, the Suez Crisis caused by Houthi militants in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, and the drought in Panama affecting Canal traffic – is driving TEU growth.

The latest box data from Drewry shows that the global container fleet has grown one per cent to 51.5 million TEUs towards the end of last year, most likely driven by a late surge in equipment inventory as lines started feeling the lag from vessel attacks around the Bab al-Mandab Strait. At that stage newbuilds in the box business were still in decline, the maritime consultancy said. With the escalation of vessels coming under attack by Iran-backed militants south of the Suez Canal, ongoing conflict affecting Black Sea trade and vessel transit buildup at the Panama Canal, container manufacturing continues to increase.

Fleet expansion is adding to this picture, Drewry reports, with expectations pointing to 2.3% growth in newbuild orders during the remainder of 2024. The accelerating uptake of TEU boxes idling in shipping yards is also not registering in newbuild container inventory as the push for equipment availability continues unabated.

Various sea trade platforms are reporting that geopolitical events and operational constraints have exposed the liner shipping industry’s vulnerabilities and those of its customers, especially on two trade lanes – the Suez and Panama. “In January, the number of containership transits around the Cape had risen to 605, up from 164 a year ago, while the number of voyages through the Suez Canal over the same period declined to 62 compared to 328 in January 2023,” Drewry’s AIS analytics has found. [5]


Carriers still desperate for tonnage to guarantee emergency schedules:

Date: 21st February 2024

Ocean carriers are struggling to maintain weekly sailings from Asia to Europe via the Cape of Good Hope routing, despite the delivery of some 425,000 teu of newbuild capacity this year. According to an analysis by Alphaliner, the extended voyages are proving a challenge for carriers endeavouring to keep to revised proforma schedules.

“At least two, and preferably three, extra vessels need to be added to each loop to guarantee all scheduled departures,” said the consultant. However, to plug the gaps in their networks, carriers have adopted a hybrid strategy of adding some extra vessels and speeding-up ships, supplemented by additional sailings with any size ship they can fix on the charter market.

No fewer than 16 13,200 teu to 16,600 teu newbuilds, and a 24,000 teu vessel, have been received by alliance carriers so far this year, but the influx of capacity has been insufficient to sustain the revised schedules. Instead, Alphaliner noted, last month and this, carriers deployed extra loaders between Asia and Europe, mainly much smaller ships; for example, Hapag-Lloyd operated the 1,844 teu Kalliroe C and 2,713 teu Cape Sable as ad-hoc sailings outside THE Alliance network. “For carriers, it is a lucky coincidence that the return of the first batch of diverted ships falls in the traditionally slow period after Chinese New Year, when shipping lines tend to blank a number of sailings,” said Alphaliner.

In its analysis, the consultant found that the Ocean Alliance had “faced the largest struggle” to find additional ships to shore-up its network, especially on services from Central China to the Mediterranean. While, the 2M Alliance had been best able to cope with the extra requirement for tonnage, MSC and Maersk both benefiting from the delivery of a large number of newbuildings. [6]


Ocean carriers determined to hang onto containers as supply tightens:

Date: 20th February 2024

To facilitate the extra ships taken on charter due to the Red Sea crisis, ocean carriers have put a temporary moratorium on selling any containers, as well as pausing the return of equipment to lessors.

With the exception of in some isolated trades, carriers have largely been able to manage the supply of equipment across their networks, due to prompt evacuation and judicious container control; however, supply remains tight in certain regions. And carriers will not want to be commercially hobbled by equipment availability problems as and when the markets settle into the new ‘new normal’ of transits around the Cape of Good Hope.

When the Cape diversions began in earnest, it was estimated that shipping lines were sitting on a global surplus of around 5m teu, accumulated during an ordering spree triggered by the huge spike in pandemic-induced demand, resulting in chronic port and landside congestion. However, in its Container Equipment Forecaster report in November, Drewry said it expected the global fleet to have contracted by 2.6% last year, with a further decrease predicted for this year, as carriers ramped up efforts to retire some of their ageing boxes and return as much equipment as possible to leasing companies. At that point, thousands of surplus boxes, a global equipment fleet of some 55m teu, were stacked up in empty-container depots, incurring storage charges on top of their daily lease-hire rates.

In the early days of the Red Sea disruptions, before the temporary new networks kicked in and the supply chain adapted to longer voyage times, several lines warned of equipment availability issues, particularly in China ahead of the traditional lunar new year cargo rush. Some carriers decided to offer nervous shippers equipment availability guarantees by way of premium surcharges, but this was relatively short-lived. Nevertheless, according to online container leasing and trading platform Container xChange, one-way leasing rates from Chinese ports to, for example, US destinations, have soared by over 200% since November. CEO and co-founder of Container xChange Christian Reoloffs attributed the spike in leasing rates to “a notable shift in supply-demand dynamics”. [7]



[1] https://www.freightnews.co.za/article/cape-town-container-terminal-boosts-container-volumes

[2] https://www.freightnews.co.za/article/transnet-focuses-boosting-efficiency-eastern-cape-ports

[3] https://theloadstar.com/praying-for-rain-as-record-lows-loom-for-panama-canal-and-amazon/

[4] https://theloadstar.com/red-tape-and-emissions-trading-ets-hits-non-eu-shipowners-hard/

[5] https://www.freightnews.co.za/article/teu-growth-rises-back-trade-lane-trouble

[6] https://theloadstar.com/carriers-still-desperate-for-tonnage-to-guarantee-emergency-schedules/

[7] https://theloadstar.com/ocean-carriers-determined-to-hang-onto-containers-as-supply-tightens/


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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.


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Coenie & The Inter-Sped Team