At least 20 containerships are at anchor in the English Channel as ports across northern Europe remain heavily congested.
Kuehne+Nagel’s ocean freight intelligence platform Seaexplorer reports “extreme yard congestion at several terminals” with ships heading for Antwerp, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Felixstowe, and other major ports having to anchor until a berth has become available.
While not as big a problem in numbers of vessels as in the US, it is becoming more common in Europe. European ships waiting can also be much larger than those in California’s San Pedro Bay, reports Lloyds Loading List, although there is more flexibility with alternative port options.
In the UK, trade bodies MakeUK and the British Chambers of Commerce are to write to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) calling for an investigation of the shipping industry’s “cartel-like” behaviour and soaring fees that are causing shortages and fuelling inflation, reports the Telegraph.
With container prices from East Asia to Europe 10-times pre-pandemic levels, a draft of the letter to the CMA says: “Recent announcements on substantial increase in profits for the major shipping companies without extra investment in capacity or offers of alternative solutions would suggest there are significant competition issues at play.”
Amazon takes control
In the US, Amazon is reportedly looking to tackle freight bottlenecks by acquiring more than 10 long-range, wide-body freighters to fly goods from China and Asia Pacific to the US, reports Lloyds Loading List.
It says the move would be a further step in Amazon’s strategy of taking greater control of its logistics, leading to more direct competition with the likes of UPS and FedEx.
Long Beach – long waits
In the US, the executive director of the Port of Long Beach in California says plans to switch to 24/7 operations, pushed by President Joe Biden this week, will improve the crisis in the short term but that logistics globally need a rethink, say Sky News.
Mario Cordero, who met Biden this week at the White House, said: “Everybody agrees we’re in a crisis, everybody agrees we need a solution, so the question is what are the short-term solutions, what are the long-term solutions?”
US ports have been unable to clear containers quickly enough due to a shortage of HGV drivers and an antiquated road and rail infrastructure, as previously cover in the IOE&IT Daily Update.