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Port congestion in Europe at critical levels

     Loading container ship

Yard density across the Northern European ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp, Bremerhaven, Le Havre and Hamburg remains at critical levels, predominantly caused by high dwell times and vessel schedule disruptions.  Congestion at these hub ports has also reached critical levels due to an endless cycle of logistics issues such as full terminals and delayed vessels.

Importers in Europe, much like those in North America, are overloaded with inventory and are delaying the collection of their cargo from ports, which causes congestion at the terminals and reduction in available empty equipment for export shipments.  Due to this congestion, ocean terminals are only accepting loaded containers for exports within very narrow time limits – which is very challenging to manage, especially when coupled with the shortage of truck drivers and empty containers across Europe.

The German ports of Bremerhaven and Hamburg have had further disruptions due to strikes by dock workers, who are demanding pay raises to counter high inflation rates.  They staged a 24 hour walk out in June, however, last week’s 48 hour strike was the longest thus far.  The dock workers have reduced the number of extra shifts at the terminals, which is further exacerbating the congestion issues.  In the German port of Bremerhaven, carriers Maersk and their subsidiary Hamburg Sud have warned importers that containers will be moved to off-dock facilities if not collected “within reasonable time frames”.  We recommend you give as much advance notice as possible if you have shipments you need to arrange to or from the above mentioned ports.

For more information, contact Debbie McGuire, Director – Freight Solutions.

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