Many countries around the world are still being severely impacted with COVID-19 and some are currently in their third or even fourth lockdowns . This is continuing to make shipping very difficult with long delays still being incurred all throughout Europe, UK, Canada and the USA, as ports continue to be restricted and are operating well below capacity. New bookings are also being delayed for up to several weeks in some cases due to the lack of equipment being available in each port as well as the fact that most vessels are well overbooked.
Shipments from China and many other parts of Asia are starting to move slightly better since the Chinese New Year break. Some countries like Indonesia and India are still very difficult to ship from, with long delays being encountered. New Zealand is also still heavily congested with both imports and exports experiencing lengthy delays with no end in sight unfortunately. We’re also still receiving notices from carriers advising of port rotations being changed at the last minute to mitigate delays caused by various port congestions in transit, which can further delay a shipment that was just about to arrive. The port congestion surcharges into Sydney have been lifted now by the shipping lines, which is good news and very much overdue.
We’ve been advised rates may be increasing again from China due to the fact that most vessels are getting close to being fully booked, as they’re already currently running at over 90% capacity. They’re also expecting that there will be a further shortage of empty containers in China due to the recent blockage in the Suez Canal that was well publicised. This event has caused a huge delay to the movement of containers between China and Europe and will further impact shipping for several weeks.
Sad to say that transhipment services are still being delayed, as the transhipment ports in Asia are severely congested and they can’t keep up with the volume of cargo arriving that need to be unloaded and reloaded in these ports. Sometimes its up to 2 or 3 weeks before a container is finally loaded onto the second vessel to Australia and therefore it’s still strongly recommended to try and use direct services wherever possible to help avoid these lengthy delays.