Further delays due to congestion at terminals and in warehouses
30 August 2021
Container shipping has already had to cope with many delays due to the coronavirus. Most carriers now take these delays into account. However, problems are now also accumulating on arrival in the port of Rotterdam. Terminals are full of containers, causing issues when unloading and loading. Add to this the problems experienced by carriers and at warehouses. What exactly is going on, and what consequences should you expect?
Unloading and loading of container ships is increasingly taking longer
Import and export in the port of Rotterdam are running full steam ahead. Arriving container ships are full to the brim. The same is true for departing ships, because there are plenty of export consignments too. This means the terminals are constantly packed and this makes unloading and loading more difficult. The result is widespread delays.
A container ship usually docks for around 48 hours. Unloading and loading are both done during this time. However, we now see the lead time spiralling more and more because of lack of quayside space. It is no longer uncommon for a container to remain on board for 72 hours or longer before being unloaded. The supply of export containers is also affected heavily by the lack of quayside space.
Finally, delivering and collecting containers to and from the terminal is also becoming increasingly difficult. This is because terminals regularly close their doors to deliveries of empty containers. In these cases, the so-called empty depots are used, but these do not have the capacity for processing these huge numbers of containers. Truckers are often stuck in long queues of up to 6 hours. As a result, there are also a lot of delays in the collection of empty containers for export.
Shortages during unloading of groupage containers
The problems sadly do not stop with the busy scenes at the port of Rotterdam. Even warehouses specialised in unloading groupage containers and sorting their contents are currently drowning in work. Some warehouses have already announced that the unloading schedules could be more than 7 days after unloading the container from the ship.
In addition, warehouses across the country are battling shortages. Euro pallets have almost run out, for example, so unloading increasingly happens onto block pallets or disposable pallets. This has a negative effect on truck loading, but also on distribution centres, as these are designed for the automated receipt of euro pallets. The shortage of warehouse staff makes it even harder to stay on schedule.
A longer wait for goods
The volumes that terminals and warehouses are having to process are increasing. And even though terminals are in operation 24/7, most other logistics branches are not. Carriers and warehouses usually keep to office hours. On top of this, there is a shortage of trucks and staff. All the above are placing a lot of stress on delivery capacity and causing the time frame for you to receive your goods to stretch all the time. It is unfortunate, but we are currently unable to say when the situation will improve.
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