Issue 3 2021 - Freight Business Journal


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as quickly as possible

in every way we can. Price is always a factor, and many have ended up with increased costs due to the Suez situation. The sooner we get back to a normal situation, the better it is for everyone in the logistics chain. If we can help speed that process up, I’d be very pleased.” He added that the situation

could lead to a sudden surge in ships arriving all together in the major European ports. Dzanic added: “Since before

the Suez problem, many of the European ports and their yards are already filled to the brim with goods, the Covid- 19-pandemic being a major contributing factor. Hence, the ports in question lack the yard capacity to handle the large amount of calling ships and goods that are on the way. Thus, further delays beyond the immediate Suez Canal situation are to be expected.” Josh Brazil, vice president of

marketing at shipping analysts Project44 said that rerouting ships to Gothenburg “could be a great idea if it suits the needs of customers” but pointed out that average ship dwell times at Antwerp and Rotterdam were currently not too bad. As of 6

April, they were six days for Antwerp and five for Rotterdam, compared with ten days for Los Angeles and seven for Long Beach; the US West Coast gateways have been severely hit by shortages of manpower and equipment coupled with a surge in e-commerce traffic during the Covid crisis. But UK ports were doing even

better, with average dwell times of 5.36 days for Southampton, four days for London Gateway and just 3.78 days for Felixstowe, Brazil added. However, by historic

standards, dwell times at all ports are increased significantly above the 1-2 days seen pre- Covid. Ships are operating very full, and this tends to slow operations down. Full ships has also led to an

upsurge in the number of boxes lost overboard, from 1,300 a year normally to around 3,000 currently. Turloch Mooney, associate

director maritime and trade at business information firm IHS Markit said that the Ever Given grounding incident could not have come at a worse time for global shipping: “The timing of the incident is dreadful because container ports globally have been struggling so much with

delays and congestion as a result of the pandemic. This includes major European gateways and supporting hinterland connections that will now potentially have to deal with

large volumes of

backlogged shipments arriving out of schedule and in a much more concentrated fashion than you would normally see.” Port performance data

from IHS Markit showed that congestion at major global seaports had already spiked in the second half of 2020, with ship time in port rising by between 7.8% and 20% year on year, depending on vessel size. The problem was particularly acute for larger vessels. Logistics UK warned that

the clearance of so many ships at one time could cause congestion at ports along the supply chain, with a resultant slowdown in port productivity. General manager for Public Policy Alex Veitch, said that with more than 300 ships stuck behind the Ever Given, the impact of the incident will continue to be felt around the world for some weeks. He added:

“Any delay to

deliveries from the Far East will mean delays in picking up goods from UK ports for

export, as well as slowing down deliveries into the UK’s supply chain. Goods affected by the delays will include seasonal stock for UK retailers, so gaps may start to appear unless the situation is resolved quickly.” Project44 put the retail value

of containerised goods stuck in transit at over $83 billion while the daily operating costs of delayed vessels at over $5.5 million. Moreover, it said, “with reroutes further complicating scheduling, boats currently making their way around Africa will soon join the competition for limited discharging capacity at ports where supply chain breakdowns will take place in the weeks ahead. “Just because your cargo

is moving again doesn’t mean you can breathe easy. Understanding and monitoring port congestion over the next few weeks will inform us about how large the shockwaves from this incident are going to be. As this saga unfolds, it will take on increasingly global proportions.” The Global Shippers Forum

has meanwhile called for line customers to show ‘surcharge scepticism’ as vessels get underway again. Secretary general James

Hookham said: “Shippers should be wary of new surcharges and additional costs attributed to the Canal closure. Many goods will be spoilt or unsaleable by the time they are delivered, and

expectations of supplementary payments and surcharges by carriers for late delivery on top of the

rates already paid should be challenged.”

Union plays tribute to seafarers’ role in Suez Crisis II

General secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, Stephen Cotton, has paid tribute to the efforts of seafarers, including tugboat operators, in helping to remove the stricken Ever Given from the Suez Canal. He said: “We want to

acknowledge the tireless efforts of the workers aboard the tug

boat and towage vessels, and those performing the critical groundworks essential to resolving this situation. “Seafarers have been expected

to keep the world moving during this pandemic by getting all of us the supplies, food, and medicines we need, and then they have had this major blockage to add to their worries.”

historically high

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