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Maersk warns port congestion is continuing to impact supply chains

Increased yard density and delays to working vessels remain at critical levels

Despite occasional signs of improvement, key hubs and gateways remain clogged with cargo. For shippers, this will translate to further cargo delays

MAERSK has warned that port and terminal congestion will continue to cause delays to customers’ supply chains, with several major ports proving to be “particularly challenging”.

“Unfortunately, 2022 has not started off as we had hoped,” the company said in a customer advisory. “The pandemic is still going strong and unfortunately, we are seeing new outbreaks impacting our ability to move your cargo. General sickness remains high as key ports in key regions are seeing new coronavirus peaks.”

In Europe, yard density was continuing to increase, with longer waiting times.

Bremerhaven’s North Sea Terminal had a yard density of over 130%, with Hamburg’s Eurogate and Maersk’s own Maasvlakte II also reporting yard density over 100%.

Most northern range ports were reporting vessel call delays of between one and four days. In the UK, however, Maersk said waiting time delays for vessel berthing ran to seven to 10 days.

“While the numbers are far from optimal, we are pleased to see areas of developments,” Maersk said. “The port of Antwerp had up to 10 days wait last week. This week, the numbers could be down to two days.”

It added that ongoing contingency plans would be made, with the objective of minimising supply chain delays.

In the US, terminals were recording more significant delays.

At Los Angeles and Long Beach, delays for vessel berthing ranged from 28 days to 45 days, with all North American west coast ports being either “challenging” or “critical”.

Seattle, Vancouver and Prince Rupert all had yard density at 100% or more.

In China, the outbreak of coronavirus in Beilun had yet to have an effect on container shipping operations at Ningbo’s five container terminals

“Vessel calls and departures are so far running as normal, as well as loading and discharge activities,” Maersk said. “After some days with revised operations, container gate-in and gate-out activities are now also back to normal with a combined yard density of around 75%. However, trucking services in Jinhua Yongkang, the mid-high-risk area of Beilun and the area outside the Zhejiang province are suspended under the strict regulation by the epidemic prevention policy.”

Maersk said it was monitoring the situation at Ningbo closely.

“As the situation evolves every day, we are working closely with all respective port authorities and coordinating with all involved parts in the local supply chain to help alleviate the situation. That could include slowing down the sea transit for minimal queuing, opening substitute container depots or moving more cargo via alternative modes.”

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