Connector Series - December 2020

With the numerous events of change and disruption to container shipping services to and from New Zealand in recent weeks we would like to keep you updated about ongoing developments.

  • The situation at the Ports of Auckland as outlined in our previous advisories remains to have major impacts on Container Liner Shipping in New Zealand. Congestion as a result of the numerous influencing factors has deteriorated further since our last customer advisory, with waiting times for vessels to berth of up to 10 days. We expect the situation to persist until the end of Q1 2021. ANL has recently decided to call Northport (Marsden Point) rather than Auckland as a one-off attempt to mitigate the risk of delayed imports into New Zealand as a result of suspended berth windows and waiting time in Auckland. While this will pay off from a ship operational time perspective, a potential risk is a negative flow over effect on the empty positioning of containers south of Auckland as significant truck capacity will be tied to the Northport leg.

  • With the high peak in demand for shipping capacity and disruptions to the supply chain worldwide, liner carriers have limited space on their vessels and struggle to supply empty equipment at the required ports of loading. In New Zealand in particular, the limited options to reposition empty equipment via coastal moves has put rail and truck capacities under high pressure, which results in shortages of equipment for example in Tauranga.

  • The situation in Australian ports continuously and substantially affects the trans-Tasman supply chain. Through reduced shipping capacity as a result of congested ports, space on the New Zealand to Australia route has come under immense pressure.
    Further, the ongoing congestion in Australia has a severe cascading effect to the hinterland:
    The Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) recently reported that the result of the industrial actions (Patricks, DP World, Hutchison and Tug Boat operator Svitzer), in combination with other heavily adversely affecting factors, have resulted in gridlocks within the port precincts, significant congestion and a heavy backlog across all major ports.
    This dramatically increased the likelihood of container detention charges being incurred and payable by customers, given that container returns within the designated free-time period cannot be managed by the transport companies.

    While the industrial actions were interrupted until 1st of December, a way forward has not yet been clearly communicated by the parties. The situation therefore remains at risk to deteriorate even further in case industrial actions flare up again.

  • Congestion continues to have a substantially disrupting effect on the many other ports and supply chains worldwide. For example ports in the UK are heavily congested, the persisting situation in Singapore continues to have a substantial impact on South East Asian ports, congestion in Colombo affects shipments to the Indian Subcontinent, while Xingang (China) is experiencing a substantial slowdown of operations due to new measures in the testing process for reefer containers to fight COVID-19.

  • The latest impact of COVID-19 however evolves in the Pearl River Delta in South China. Due to the Chinese Government COVID-19 quarantine requirements for the ship crews onboard the coastal feeder vessels running between South China and Hong Kong waters, feeder operators have announced their services to be suspended from mid-Jan to the end of Feb 2021. This means there will not be any service into the below listed ports during this time. We are looking at options to land shipments at alternative ports in Southern China and transport via road to final destination ports. These options are very limited so please contact your account manager or booking coordinator to discuss your needs.

    Impacted ports:
    Beijiao, Gaolan, Gaoming, Guangzhou, Huangpu, Jiangmen, Nangang, Nansha, Sanshui, Shantou, Wuzhou, Xiaolan, Xinsha, Zhongshan, Zhuhai

  • As a further consequence of the above measures, we expect Hong Kong to likely become the next heavily congested port as a result of cargo to the above-mentioned ports facing extended layover periods in Hong Kong. Various other Chinese ports face the risk to be affected accordingly.

The numerous operational constraints worldwide continue to be extremely challenging for Container Liner Shipping. To avoid operational disruptions to your supply chains as much as possible, we would like to again ask you to kindly place bookings as early and far in advance as possible in order to mitigate operational risks and build resilient inventory levels. Thank you for your support.

We would like to re-assure you that our teams and service providers are working tirelessly on solutions to provide you the best possible customer service in order to keep the impact on your operations as limited as possible.


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