It was back in March when the Ever Given blocked the Suez Canal for six days. But the saga is set to continue well into May as ports around the world struggle to clear the backlogs of goods.
Hundreds of vessels were delayed when the vessel got stuck. They either took a diversion route around the Cape of Good Hope or just turned around.
This had a knock-on effect on the Northern European base ports, including UK and Ireland.
Delayed arrivals have meant vessels are arriving at the same time, creating serious congestion and berthing queues. Some vessels were diverted as a result.
There’s a similar story about to erupt in China. Serious congestion will disrupt both eastbound and westbound services, however, the problems haven’t hit yet. The ports are expecting the real impact in May when the vessels delayed by the Suez crisis start to arrive.
Ports are expecting the real impact in May when the vessels delayed by the Suez crisis start to arrive
Add in the lack of empty containers returning to Asia, and you have carriers announcing blank sailing and route changes.
Congestion, delays and equipment shortages are going to make May a complete wash out. The expectation is that vessel transit times will increase by 10-14 days although the carriers have not yet confirmed this.
And what about freight rates? Well, you can forget the usual reduction in rates after Chinese New Year. The Ever Given saga has ensured that rates are going to be driven higher thanks to lack of equipment and reduced vessel availability. It’s a crisis that keeps on giving.