European ports have been buffeted and in turmoil this year due to strikes at ports such as Liverpool and Felixstowe in the UK in recent months, as well as strike action at major German ports over the summer.
Strike at Antwerp port, shipping company issues warning
It is understood that port workers at the Port of Antwerp will go on strike on November 9 (today), starting at 6 a.m. (local time) and ending at 6 a.m. the next morning.
According to Inchcape Shipping Services, Belgian unions are currently on strike, with the Socialist Union calling for a general strike, while Christian and Liberal unions will organize protests including strikes, staff meetings and demonstrations.
As a result, much of Belgium’s public life will be shut down and restricted. According to local media reports, the reason why the union called for the strike was due to rising energy prices.
Danish shipping company Maersk said in a recent customer advisory that terminal operations would be closed during the announced one-day strike and that no inland deliveries or pickups would be possible until the strike action ends.
The Port of Antwerp is expected to experience delays and operational difficulties as pilots, tugboats and other port personnel will take part in strike action.
Maersk said it is closely monitoring the development of the situation, and while the strike action is expected to cause operational challenges, Maersk is also actively developing contingency plans to minimize supply chain delays.
During this period, Maersk will continue to focus on maintaining the flow of import and export goods and minimizing the impact on customers. To reduce delays, Maersk reminds customers to pick up imported cargo as soon as possible.
In addition, train traffic may be disrupted and airports may be subject to restrictions, notably Zaventem and Brussels-Charleroi.
Backlog of 3 months, huge congestion at German ports
In addition, the congestion situation at German ports in central Europe is still not optimistic.
A lack of drivers to move containers and cars out of ports and a high volume of conventional trade have limited sea and land transportation for automakers such as Tesla (TSLA), Chrysler and Jeep owner Stellantis (STLA), BMW, Renault and Volvo Arriving vehicles are piling up at The Port of Bremerhaven, Germany. The resulting delays in the automobile export business of automobile companies are very serious.
It is understood that Bremen Port is one of the largest automobile transportation hubs in the world, and the normal operation of the port is currently at a standstill.
According to foreign media reports, the famous Norwegian shipowner Wallenius Wilhelmsen (the market leader in ro-ro transportation and vehicle logistics) has rejected orders for cargo exports in October and November, and has even begun to refuse orders for December. be accepted.
In addition, Andreas Braun, manager of Europe, Africa and the Middle East for seaborne goods at Crane Worldwide Logistics, said that delays are very serious. The time to import cars from the United States and Mexico must be calculated in months. Even cars like BMW are delayed by 3 For months, it has been difficult to install additional devices such as iDrive touch panels.
VesselsValue, a shipping big data and trade consulting company, pointed out that the Port of Bremen has informed the industry that it is unable to move imported cars due to a severe shortage of drivers for unloading high-heavy cargo; in addition, military exercises occupy a considerable amount of terminal space that is usually reserved for operators. .
It is reported that Bremerhaven is the fourth largest container port in Europe, with an annual throughput of more than 5 million TEU containers. More than 1.7 million vehicles are transported every year. The data shows that its overall transport congestion level (excluding cars) is currently at a “moderate” level.
At present, the port does not have enough arriving car cargo carriers, causing export waiting times to increase again.
Data shows that fewer orders for car exports have helped speed up processing times for vehicles that have piled up at ports in recent months, but wait times for cars to arrive at ports are still trending upward.
In addition, in addition to the lack of key labor force, tight ship capacity has also exacerbated the delay in shipping time at the port.
According to data from VesselsValue, compared with December 2019, the global transport fleet is short of about 13 transport ships on average.
The vehicle carrier director of VesselsValue said, “It is mainly caused by excessive scrapping of ships in the first year of the epidemic. It is expected that the tight capacity will continue until the delivery of new ships starts in 2024.”
Although global supply chain pressure has declined from its peak during the epidemic, it remains high, ships are operating at full capacity, and the growing demand for electric vehicles will put greater pressure on the supply chain.
In addition, in the UK, if an agreement cannot be reached with the port management, employees at the Port of Liverpool will go on strike for the fourth time from November 14th to 21st.
Finally, I would like to remind all cargo owners and freight forwarders who have shipped to Europe in the near future to arrange their shipment plans reasonably to avoid losses caused by delays.