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Severe delays and shortages from China

Severe delays and shortages from China

The ongoing situation in the Red Sea, the shortage of sea containers, and less available hold space on the Asia-Europe route, all demand a lot of determination from us as forwarders, but also from you as shippers. This article brings you up to date with the current situation. We will also give you a few tips on how to adapt and keep up with this challenging container market as much as possible.



Delays on the rise

The problems in the Red Sea are continuing to cause industry-wide issues. Almost all ships are currently delayed, adding to the already existing delays. All Chinese ports are experiencing many problems. There is a considerable shortage of ships on the Asia-Europe route.


Unfortunately, these woes will continue at least until the third quarter of 2024. Shipping companies have to take detours, meaning ships have less load capacity. The scarcity is hiking up prices.


There are no changes to the rising rates on the horizon right now. To cover the extra costs, shipping companies will temporarily increase certain surcharges. Of course, they are also taking advantage of the situation: selling the hold space at ever higher daily rates (spot rates), especially for late bookings.



Hold space issues, blank sailings and rollovers

The hold space problems in China and Southeast Asia have sadly gotten even worse in recent weeks. Many containers are currently not loaded in line with schedules in the loading ports or transit ports. What’s more, shipping companies have reduced the number of sailings by 40% compared to April, and the ships are often fully booked already.


These problems are throwing the sailing schedules out of kilter. Chances are your shipment will be delayed. Blank Sailings are also a regular occurrence. The extra scheduled Blank Sailings should help reduce delays and also improve the reliability of the sailing schedules. Increased demand is resulting in additional reports of rolled containers and full ships, expected to last until at least the end of June.



What can you do?

As a shipper, you should expect an increased likelihood of delays and a shortage of hold space. As such, please ensure you book in good time – at least 3 to 4 weeks in advance.


What’s more, it is important that you maintain short lines of communication with your supplier. Your supplier and our overseas agents are in close contact. However, we all have to contend with the time difference too. Quick responses among all parties can mean the difference between a space on board or a missed sailing opportunity.




If you have questions about a specific shipment, please contact your dedicated contact person.



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