Connector Series - Q1 2021

  • The situation at the Ports of Auckland, as outlined in our previous advisories, continues to have major impacts on Container Liner Shipping in New Zealand. Congestion as a result of the numerous influencing factors has deteriorated to a level with waiting times for vessels to berth of up to 14 days, while the berth window suspension has now been extended into April. As a consequence schedules and rotations of port calls along the New Zealand coast have become unreliable and highly inconsistent, with advised sailing dates for the very same vessel being in part advertised with a difference of several weeks only days before starting the rotation in New Zealand, depending on the source referred to.
    We do not expect the situation to improve before Q2 2021 but understand that all shipping lines are working together with the ports on solutions to improve the situation as early as possible in 2021. Further, we are supporting lobbying efforts on a national level to increase awareness for the importance of a soonest possible improvement for New Zealand and the Oceania region as a whole.

  • In that context on a positive note the re-opening of the just completed Northland rail line between Whangarei and Auckland by KiwiRail can benefit freight movements from Northport, which has lately been chosen by shipping lines to divert vessels from Ports of Auckland to discharge their Auckland-bound imports. This now allows high cube containers to move on rail.

  • Worldwide Congestion persists to affect the global supply chains substantially. While we saw the situation in Colombo easing at the end of last year, it has since worsened. The situations in Dalian and especially Chittagong are also deteriorating, with calls at Chittagong now being suspended by major shipping lines as a consequence. Meanwhile two of US West coast’s main container ports, already suffering extreme congestion, are now also fighting a severe outbreak of Covid-19 amongst their workforce. Around 700 dockworkers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have contracted coronavirus and hundreds more have taken virus-related leave, which will most likely decrease productivity further.

  • Closer to home the situation in Australian ports is still impacting the trans-Tasman supply chain. Through reduced shipping capacity as a result of congested ports, space on the New Zealand to Australia route, as well as the Australian hinterland, remains under immense pressure.
    While an official statement by the parties regarding discussions to prevent further industrial actions is still pending, we would like to share a good summary of the situation regarding empty containers in Australia and the deriving imbalance published by Shipping Australia Limited lately:
    Read the summary here

  • The ongoing challenging operational environment has resulted in a substantial deterioration of schedule integrity and has dramatically increased the volume of cargo being rolled. A latest research by Ocean Insights ( reveals that in December 2020 more than 1 in 3 containers was rolled-over in the worldwide transhipment hubs. While the average roll-over ratio was at 37%, some ports saw a ratio even greater than 60%. The liner carriers individually also saw a dramatic deterioration in their performance, with roll-over ratios of 30% to 50% being the standard.

  • Tight space as well as a persisting shortage and major imbalance of containers has meanwhile driven container spot rates significantly upwards, predominantly for trades ex Asia (mainly China) to Europe (+264% yoy in Dec) and to the US (+145% yoy in Dec), but also on other trades. Consequently, equipment is positioned empty away from other areas, including New Zealand, into China, creating or increasing equipment deficits. In part, the equipment is repositioned empty instead of laden to ensure the quickest supply into the high paying routes.

  • With Auckland Anniversary and Waitangi Day upcoming, we would like to draw your attention on various changed operating hours of ports, terminals and depots. Please check the company’s websites for details to avoid frustration and unnecessary cost.  

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 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 co-operation and 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, and those of your customers as limited as possible.

Stay Safe, and Stay Connected.


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