Ocean Freight : congestion issues in North European ports
Over the last 18 months, the entire range of North European ports has suffered from congestion issues related to the historically strong import and export volumes shipped in the aftermath of the Covid lockdowns in Europe.
Congestion issues in North European & Mediterranean ports
As publicized throughout the public and professional press over the last 18 months, the entire range of North European has suffered from congestion issues related to the historically strong import and export volumes shipped in the aftermath of the Covid lockdowns in Europe.
While the situation is very gradually improving through Europe, most ports are still confronted with heavy bottlenecks and unfortunately French ports have not escaped these enduring issues.
The shifting berthing windows and subsequently modified pick-up and delivery time slots, combined with record import and export volumes, have created important backlogs resulting in delays to deliver export containers to the port and remove import containers from the pier.
The terminals have extended work hours and new staff has been added to help alleviate the backlog, nonetheless the issues compounded with surrounding ports are still resulting in frequent shifts of vessel arrivals and departures and subsequently, additional handing costs invoiced by the carrier, terminals and transporters.
Examples of frequently encountered situations can be found herebelow :
- Delivery of Export containers only 2-3 days prior to final berthing window.
- Container drays frequently cancelled and rebooked to respect evolving berthing windows.
- Heavy congestion at terminals often require several hours to return full container to terminal, resulting in trucking ‘immobilization charges’.
- Containers stored at trucker or alternative private depots, incurring handling, storage and detention costs.
- Once containers at the terminal, delayed vessels may lead to demurrage or storage charges that carriers consider ‘force majeure’ and therefore refuse to absorb.
- Heavy volume-related backlog prevent efficient removal of containers from terminal.
- Shifting vessel calls disrupt terminal land operations, delaying container release.
- Fluctuating shipping windows result in cancelled and rescheduled deliveries.
- Backlog in deliveries / delay to obtain terminal pick up appointments result in demurrage and port storage costs (same for empty return container)
- Congestion in and around port delays resulting in detention charges.
While all efforts are made by your Qualitair&Sea team to prevent or minimize the impact of this context and its associated costs, please note that we are obliged to pass on any and all charges related to this ongoing situation.
Thanks for your understanding.