Due to a multitude of changes and circumstances, Shanghai Port has been struggling with severe congestion that has delayed some vessels by as much as 10 days.
Shanghai is the busiest port in the world, holding the record since 2010.
In an effort to keep the shipping industry afloat, a new alliance in global container shipping was formed by more than 10 shipping lines, including renown ocean carriers such as Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd and Cosco Shipping. This alliance went into effect on April 1st – causing schedule changes, route adjustments and putting larger vessels on the water. Due to confusion over new schedules, ships are failing to meet their allotted times and calling at the port out of turn, resulting in a build-up of vessels and containers waiting to be allowed into the port and unloaded.
The lack of space and availability has resulted in ships being stuck at anchorages until berths become available for more than 50 hours. Average delay time between April 16 and 18 was 53 hours – a 42% increase from the average waiting time at the beginning of the month.
There have also been larger than usual amounts of overbooked containers and an unpredictably large volume of exports that have added to the traffic.
One forwarder in Shanghai explained to The Loadstar how these combined factors have caused such a large hold-up.
“Readjusting alliance shipping schedules is comprehensively to blame. Space was not properly adjusted to account for this, and continued overbooking by carriers has resulted in a build-up of containers waiting to be exported.”
In addition to this, the anticipated increase of ocean freight in early May is a possible contributor to the build-up; in preparation for the rates to rise, many people may have made tried to get their shipments out last-minute while the prices were still low.
To make matters even worse, the port has been hit by foggy weather conditions.
Shippo continues to monitor the situation and, if these developments affect our customers, we’re happy to advise.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us.