Global port congestion shows few signs of improving

Container shipping analysts around the world provided updates on the picture of global port congestion this week, with shippers urged to prepare for further hurdles in the second quarter.

Asia-based Linerlytica today highlighted that while congestion eased this week in most parts of Asia, it continues to escalate in North America, with ports on the west and east coasts reaching new records over the past week.

“While the media focuses on reducing the ship queue at Los Angeles/Long Beach, the reality is that the overall container ship queue at US ports remains at an all-time high. The reduction in LA/LB is the result of vessel diversions to the U.S. East Coast as well as other West Coast ports since October 2021, which has spread congestion contagion to other Northeast ports. Americans,” Linerlytica pointed out in a weekly report.

In total, Linerlytica has 10% of the world’s boxship fleet – or 2.53 million TEUs – currently stuck in port congestion.

Danish supply chain research firm Sea-Intelligence predicted that an increase in March and April in the number of ships due to deliver goods from Asia to North America will increase port congestion for two reasons.

According to Alan Murphy, CEO of Sea-Intelligence.

Also, as more ships are deployed, the number of smaller ships increases. In simplified terms, Murphy pointed out, it is less efficient to manage two 5,000 teu ships than to manage a 10,000 teu ship, once you factor in the time to get to and from dock.

“What is most alarming,” Murphy pointed out, “is that there is a 60% increase in the number of ships on the East Coast Asia and North America trade route. in the coming months, as carriers attempt to circumvent port congestion on the West Coast, this will significantly increase pressure on East Coast port infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Alphaliner analysts say they have seen no improvement in vessel delays on Asia-Northern Europe and China-California trades since its last trade surveys released last November.

Despite an overall drop in the number of ships waiting for a Los Angeles/Long Beach berth, from a peak of 109 units on January 9 to just 76 ships at the start of this week, transit time before – Mail from ships sailing from Asia to these twinned ports has increased according to Alphaliner to an average of 38 days, from 28 days recorded in mid-November.

Vessel delays for vessels making a full Asia – Northern Europe round trip are also unchanged since early November, when Alphaliner last surveyed this traffic. Vessels of 14,000 to 24,000 teu on this route still need an average of 17 days longer than their pro forma schedules to reach central China for their next westward voyage.

Finally, the data from the American platform project44 also predicts a worsening of congestion in the weeks to come.

“While the ocean freight market is likely to experience a slight lull in February, we expect demand to pick up once manufacturing facilities reopen. The potential for additional port congestion is likely over the coming month as retailers Americans and other shippers are replenishing and increasing safety stocks,” project44 suggested in an update this week.