Generally all Australian ports are working well, there is some industrial action in Fremantle which is causing some delays to deliveries but overall ports are working well for deliveries in and out of all Terminals.
The national industrial action planned by Maritime Union of Australia against Svitzer, the national tug company, was averted recently allowing a smoother flow of vessels into all ports, albeit with some ports reporting a large number of vessels awaiting discharge at most times.
Auckland ports continue to be heavily congested and a number of shipping lines are diverting sailings during February to omit the normal scheduled Auckland port call, particularly from USA, in an effort to try and maintain scheduling.
The delays in Singapore to Australian ports are currently between 7 and 21 days, it is hoped that the situation will ease with the onset of Chinese New Year holiday late next week when they should see an easing of import/export volume, shipping lines in Australia are currently advising us that they expect it could be at least 6 more weeks before they can see an ease to the current situation.
Severe delays have been encountered with vessel departures over recent weeks with schedules thrown in chaos due to a backlog of cargo, freak weather events off the China coast and an unprecedented volume of cargo moving in and out of China.
Most main ports in China have seen vessel delays recently with an embargo on reefer containers being sent to Xingang and Qingdao ports. A severe shortage of empty equipment in China has also led to delays in export shipments as container lines struggle to reposition enough empty equipment to service the demand.
South East Asia Ports:
Heavy congestion exists in most South East Asian ports with equipment and space issues particularly bad out of Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. The huge volume of traffic that has moved from these countries over recent months has led to equipment shortages and space problems with all sailings fully booked on all trade routes. The same situation exists in Indonesia and Indian main ports at this time.
West Coast USA ports:
Los Angeles and Long Beach ports continue with heavy congestion, above average numbers of vessels arriving, a shortage of empty equipment for export and a very large shortage of truck drivers and chassis to move the incoming flood of containers.
Last week it was reported some 40 vessels were anchored at sea awaiting entry to the ports for discharge and load operations.
East Coast USA Ports:
East Coast USA ports are faring much better than West Coast USA ports, and while all vessels off the East Coast are fully booked at present, the delays have been less dramatic. There is a general shortage of empty equipment in the Mid-West areas as well as an acute shortage of truckers and chassis with delays of a week to 10 day common for sourcing equipment and arranging trucking to the ports.
Similar to most other regions, most sailings fully booked with huge cargo volumes moving to Asia and Australia and some issues with sourcing empty container equipment, particularly in inland European points. Some lines have announced they are restricting or cancelling bookings to Australia for the month of February in an effort to clear the backlog of cargo and to reposition empty equipment back to Europe.
Container Services in General:
At the normal Peak Season period from August to December most shipping lines will add additional sailings (commonly called clean out sailings), however in a Newsflash received today from Hapag-Lloyd in Europe, we are advised that chartering of additional vessels at present is almost impossible as all available vessels are already in service around the globe. This is a stark contrast to “normal times” when shipowners have available vessels for anyone wanting a one-time charter.
Airfreight Services into Australia:
With the Australian Government again reducing the number of passengers permitted to arrive in Australia per week, and imposing new restrictions on flight crews arriving into hotel quarantine, flight services have again been disrupted. The UK Government also banning all flights from Middle East areas in and out of UK has seen a drop in flights available from UK and Europe. Emirates announced it was cancelling all flights to and from Australia some 10 days ago, they then suddenly back-flipped after a few days and are again now operating services on reduced scheduling from European origin points via Dubai to Australia. Both Qatar Airways and Etihad Airlines are also flying from Europe via The Middle East to Australia on limited schedule.