Please be advised of the following details in regards to the current situation with shipping, transport and logistics both locally and internationally for your information.
Global Shipping Update
Shipping from the USA doesn’t appear to be getting any better and it actually seems to be getting worse if anything. Vessel waiting times on the West coast have eased, but these delays have now moved to the East coast and Gulf states, as most carriers shifted services away from the heavily congested ports on the West, only to have the same congestion issues develop on the East and in the Gulf, with 41 vessels currently queued up waiting to berth at Savannah as just one example.
There are even more issues with moving cargo inland in the USA, as there are major shortages of containers, chassis trailers, trucks and drivers to move cargo and all these shortages are causing huge backlogs of containers piling up at various transport hubs across the country. The rail services are also suffering with the same issues and they’ve had to put limits in place on the amount of containers that they can move on trains due to the terminals and freight hubs being congested and already too full to receive any more freight. Most warehouses in the USA are also over capacity and unable to accept any more cargo, as continual delays in shipping are slowing down the movement of cargo and this is adding extra costs and additional pressure on an already fractured supply chain. Currently the carriers from the USA are so overbooked that they’re advising shippers to book space up to 3 months in advance, and even then there are no guarantees of your cargo being shipped, as vessel schedules are erratic and ships are all overbooked with cargo being rolled from every sailing.
Not sure when things will ever get better in the USA with shipping, but it’s certainly going to remain difficult for quite some time to come unfortunately.
Shipping from certain parts of Europe is also challenging at the moment, as there’s been ongoing industrial action and port disruptions in the UK, Netherlands, France, Belgium and Germany, but thankfully nothing like coming from the USA. Vessel schedules from Europe are still being impacted with ships constantly being delayed on their voyages, as many ports in Europe are operating well below capacity due to staff and labour issues. Carriers are also continuing to randomly omit various ports in Europe as they try and avoid congestion and catch up time on their schedules, which is further delaying any cargo left behind.
Although there is ample space and equipment available and rates have come down, there are still many delays and issues with shipping from China. Just this week there’s been a super typhoon that impacted several major ports in China before it moved onto Korea and this has already impacted shipping to Australia with many vessels being unable to sail due to dangerous weather conditions or delayed due to port closures. This is after shipping around China was disrupted late last month due to increased military exercises around Taiwan that resulted in vessels being rerouted and delayed. Unfortunately COVID is also still an ongoing issue in China with many cities and regions being shutdown at various times as they continue to push for zero COVID levels. These COVID measures are seriously impacting the movement and handling of cargo in these areas with factories being forced to shut and workers being kept at home.
Also, please note that China will have another long holiday in October as they celebrate Golden Week from the 1st to the 7th of October and this holiday will further impact the supply and movement of cargo from China with more delays expected.
There are still many problems with shipping to and from New Zealand with labour shortages and port congestion issues being incurred at most ports, but especially with Auckland. We’re still seeing vessels omit ports in New Zealand with cargo being discharged at other nearby ports with the importer being left with the cost to collect the container themselves. We’re also having to book space at least 6 to 8 weeks in advance from Australia to New Zealand, with all vessels constantly moving at full capacity and there are now also massive cancellation fees being imposed by some of the carriers if bookings are changed or cancelled outside the allowable time frame. On top of these issues is the fact that the sailing schedules are just so chaotic at the moment, with vessels either being bunched up and sailing and arriving around the same time or being left with long gaps between services, instead of the supposed regular weekly sailings.
Freight Rate Update
Some positive news to pass on is that freight rates from China are continuing to decrease, as there’s still no sign of the usual peak season increases being applied at this stage and we’re unsure if there will even be a peak season this year, unless it comes in very late. Currently the carriers from China have space and equipment available for shipping and this is continuing to keep rates down, although the carriers are implementing various blank sailings to try and reduce capacity and keep rates from falling too far. Even though the rates from China and some other parts of Asia have reduced, rates from areas like Europe and the USA continue to remain at the current high levels.
But we are happy to report that even though rates have decreased from China, the carriers are all still managing to report multibillion dollar profits each quarter, which makes us all feel so much better for them.
Empty Container Parks
Once again, many of the empty container parks around Australia are at capacity with several of them no longer accepting containers, even though the shipping lines are still directing transport companies to deliver their empty containers to them. As a result, many empty containers are having to be staged and held by transport companies while alternative depots can be sourced by the shipping lines. This process can take several days and add unnecessary costs for the additional handling, but unfortunately none of the carriers will take any responsibility for this and they’ll even continue to charge detention on the container until its returned, even though the delay is from their end.
CFL Brisbane Office
Our Brisbane office is moving into a new and bigger office this weekend and from Monday the 12th Sept, they’ll be located at their new address in Brendale. The phone numbers will all remain the same and the only change will be the new street address, which is – 1/25 Kingsbury St, Brendale 4500 QLD
Just a reminder that the BMSB season started again from the 1st September and this is expected to have an impact on container fumigations in most ports in Australia, with delays expected as more containers arrive needing treatment. Also, there are still delays being incurred with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry due to various staff shortages, as they’re continue to struggle keeping up with the increased demand for bookings and inspections, which is further delaying the release of cargo.
We hope this information is of some benefit you and please contact your usual CFL contact if you need any further details regarding your shipments.