January Shipping Update

We wanted to send out an update on the current shipping situation 


COVID-19 is continuing to wreak havoc around the world with many restrictions and quarantine lock downs severely disrupting the flow of cargo.
Some countries are worse than others with the USA and UK currently being seriously affected. We’re being advised of many issues in trying to get cargo moving from these countries with a lack of truck drivers being available, warehouse operations both understaffed and forced to reduce hours, shippers and logistic companies losing staff due to illness and additional quarantine requirements, the port operations are also not being able to keep up with loading and unloading of vessels.

Many other countries all around the world are also affected in various ways and we’ve just been advised now that vessels arriving in Malaysia are being held in quarantine for a period of time before they can berth due to a new outbreak in that country.

Sadly, all these issues are adding to an already stretched and depleted supply chain and it appears that this will continue on for some time yet.

Vessel Delays

We’re still being notified of vessels changing their rotation and omitting ports mid voyage as they try and avoid further delays on their route. This is not just happening with Sydney, but also Auckland, Long Beach, Felixstowe, Hamburg, Qingdao and many other major ports around the world.

Empty Containers

We still also have the issue with empty containers, as all the empty depots are still full and transport companies are continuing to have issues returning empty containers.

While some of the shipping lines have managed to evacuate several thousands of their empty containers, this still hasn’t made an impact with new import containers continuing to arrive each day. Due to this issue with returning empty containers, we’ve now received several notices for a new Empty Park Congestion Facilitation Fee from several shipping and freight companies, as per this link for your information.

Shipping from China

Shipments from China are moving relatively well, but there’s still the issue with the lack of equipment being available, as still not enough empty containers are being returned from all over the world and it’s especially hard to get 40’HC containers at the moment. Also, the shipping schedules are a total mess due to all the vessel delays and port congestion issues and pretty much every vessel is being impacted and delayed in some way. We’ve also included the below update we’ve received from our China representative on these issues for your information and we can also advise that freight rates are still extremely high due to the oversupply of cargo needing to be shipped combined with the lack of available space and equipment required. At this stage we don’t expect much will change until possibly after the Chinese New Year break, which is mid February this year.

China agent update – 
In China it’s the busiest time of year in the lead up to Chinese New Year commencing 11th February. Hebei Province (north/east) is now impacted by COVID-19, some manufacturing & domestic trucking has been suspended.  

Current situation in China hub ports:-
 – Shortage of containers still a big problem
 – Truck queuing at warehouses is between 1-2 days, creating higher transport costs.
– Due to vessel dates being pushed back, shippers to Shanghai port are forced to pay storage charges for FCL’s that sit there for the days, awaiting for vessels to arrive.
 – Feeder services from Pearl River Delta are to be suspended from 20th Jan. This will create issues ex Shenzhen.

Industrial Action

The MUA are taking Industrial Action against Svitzer Australia and this company operates the tug boats that assist vessels in berthing around Australia. This action has delayed the berthing of several vessels already, but since Svitzer is owned by Maersk, at this stage this action has only affected vessels owned and operated by Maersk, Click here to view the notice that we’ve received.

Weight Amendment Fee

We’ve been advised that Patrick Terminals in Brisbane has introduced a Weight Amendment Fee of $230.00 per container effective from the 4th Jan for import containers. This fee will be applied to any import container that is found to have a weight variance of more than 1 metric tonne based on the documented weight for the container. Click link to this notice for your information and this is also expected to be introduced at other Patrick Terminals around Australia in the near future.