How the pandemic is currently affecting sea freight supply chain globally?

Price surges, container shortages, transit times, congestion in ports etc.

There are currently significant difficulties with space and container availability on all sea freight routes (especially on routes from/to Far East but not limited to) which have been caused by several different factors. Prices are constantly increasing and affecting the whole industry on a global scale.

The current situation is largely due to the on-going pandemic. Difficulties began early this year when major ports in China closed operations due to Covid-19. This has had a negative impact on port operations, container equipment availability balance, vessel schedules and vessel routings.

Despite increased demurrage fees and reduced free time for import containers at port, it has not adequately affected in retrieving empty containers back to ports. Container congestion at ports has also affected trucking and consequently, receiving and returning containers has been taking a lot longer than normally. The lengthened turnaround times have also created a chassis shortage in certain counties. This all has contributed to current container imbalance and severe export equipment shortage globally.

The fast-approaching Brexit also generated large volumes of import to UK as customers were rushing to fill their stocks before January 1st after which customs procedures will come into effect. This has further deteriorated the container availability on other European routes.

Finally, the container shortage has meant shipping companies are prioritizing the more lucrative Transpacific routes, so the US currently has an abundance of containers waiting to be shipped back to Europe and Asia.

If you have any outbound shipments from US, please contact us for further information!

These issues combined (container imbalance and chassis shortages, national lockdowns and staff shortages, cancellations of certain routes) have caused significant increases in sea freight prices that no one could foresee at the beginning of the year. The situation is truly unprecedented and is forecasted to continue in European routes at least well into first quartal of 2021.

We thank you for your understanding and continuous support. Together we will overcome this challenging business climate.

Please contact our sales team for any further questions.