Bulk shipping index suggests easement in supply chain disruption – but what say other indicators?

Fri 21 Jan 2022
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

The fall in the Baltic Dry Index to February 2021 levels could be an indication that the supply chain crisis is easing.

A measure of shipping bulk items around the world, the index peaked at more than 5,700 in October 2021 but has slid since to 1,474.

While still higher than pre-pandemic times, the Times reports the level is “not completely out of kilter with the average over the past decade”.

Ten day decline

The index was down for the tenth consecutive day yesterday amid waning demand for shipping, reports Marine Link.

Reuters reports commentary from shipbroker Fearnleys that: “Big ships are still suffering from the typical January dip after a very brutal start to the year”.

Rather than an end to supply chain woes, The Times concludes firms such as logistics provider, Wincanton, builder Galliford Try and aerospace components company Senior, are getting a handle on supply chain issues and learning to manage them better.

The great disruption

According to IHS Market, they will have to do so as supply chain disruption will continue in 2022 due to the familiar combination of Covid-19, capacity issues, port congestion and rising input costs.

“The highly synchronised global supply chain system developed over the past 30 years is under strain like never before,” it claims.

Forwarders shut out

In the meantime, Loadstar reports that an increasing numbers of forwarders are claiming they are being “shut out” by shipping lines that appear to be focusing on very large forwarders and BCOs (beneficial cargo owners).

These forwarders suspect that several European carriers are looking at a similar approach to that of Maersk in offering end-to-end solutions that affect smaller forwarders’ opportunities.

One forwarder claimed a shipping line had “unofficially” told him that it was reducing capacity for smaller customers by 40%.