Port congestion in key Europe, US gateways continues to deteriorate

Terminal congestion at major US and European container ports has grown to new heights, with little indication of improvement amid sustained demand for ex-Asia goods, according to Sea-Intelligence.

European ports, in particular, are grappling with record levels of congestion, which have been increasing since October, with few positive indications in sight. Despite marginal seen at US gateways, data from the Sea-Intelligence Terminal Congestion Index show that congestion continues to trend higher.

In Genoa, Italy, truckers are currently operating at about 50% capacity and ocean terminals are suffering from dramatic backlogs of containers. Port slowdowns have severely hampered container turnaround times, even as ocean liners skew their business towards high-revenue generating headhauls, making every effort to quick evacuate empty containers from destination ports.

Due to this situation at the terminals, some of them already had to be shut down for a few days in recent weeks and some carriers stopped accepting bookings for a while in order to be able to reduce the backlogs. As the situation has not been improving considerably, terminals and carriers may have to resort to taking such measures again at a certain point.

In addition, with no vessels being available, it is not possible for carriers to phase-in additional capacity which would help the situation.

Bookings are being rolled in large numbers and for several weeks with some carriers not able to advise when containers will finally be loaded as they are struggling to keep control over the bookings.

Sources: S&P Global, BDP International

We regret having to inform you of this situation and we would like to assure our customers that our BDP teams continue to do everything possible to mitigate the effects on the transportation of your cargo wherever possible. Should you have any specific questions or concerns, please reach out to your local BDP representative.