Since the beginning of the year, demand for container transport remains elevated. Equipment shortages, low capacity on ships, and Covid-19 restrictions have caused port congestion.
According to data on goods transported this year, deliveries from a Polish port to a U.S. one takes an average of 5-10 days, 20-50% longer than last year. Delays have a domino effect on the entire logistics chain.
"One delayed vehicle disrupts the schedule of every one that follows. In Poland, the U.K., and the U.S there is a driver shortage numbering in the thousands. At the same time, the cost of energy – especially fuel – continues to rise. Sea, rail, and road fleets are all operating at maximum capacity, which means port congestion and shortages of space on ships. There is a lack of manpower, and poor rail infrastructure at ports is a weak link in supply chains involving sea transport," shares Amanda Felska, Trade Lane Manager for Sea Transportation at AsstrA.
In Los Angeles and Long Beach, ships can wait up to 45 days to moor. Most goods imported from Asia to the US pass through these ports. Vessels typically wait from 15 to 30 days outside of Singapore’s port and for 10 days outside the British port of Felixstowe. Ocean-going vessels arriving at transshipment ports in Rotterdam, Antwerp, or Bremerhaven are delayed up to 15 days, while those going directly to the Polish ports of Gdańsk or Gdynia are delayed for 2-4 days.
"This year the cost of transport from Poland to the U.S. has increased by 45%. A 40-foot container to Chicago used to cost $6,000; today it costs $9,000. The cost of container transport to Los Angeles has increased by 25% since last May, and transit time is up to 50 days. There is a shortage of drivers and port workers in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland and Savannah in the United States. Railroad terminals in Chicago, Memphis, and Kansas City are congested. Shipowners have opted not to do door-to-door delivery. We are consulting with our local AsstrA office and agents, and they both are struggling to determine rates. Experts estimate the shortage of truck drivers in the U.S. transport industry to be at about 80,000," Amanda Felska continues.
The transport situation is also complicated by protests in Ottawa, Canada. Since January 28, 2022, about 50,000 truckers have been involved.
Also, some shipowners are not accepting commercial cargo for delivery to Russia, with the occasional exception for deliveries of food and medicines. European ports do not allow transshipment of containers on feeder ships bound for the Russian Federation.
"Clients who want to ship goods from Poland to the United States have to be patient. Ship space is booked 3-4 weeks in advance. The rates for sea transportation from Europe to the West and South are constantly growing," adds Amanda Felska.
Deliveries from China to Europe are more predictable. Price levels remains stable, but even here there is a 3-week wait to book cargo space on a ship.
In 2021, the AsstrA team completed more than 800 sea transport orders to 105 key destinations. According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the volume of sea transport increased by 4.3% last year. Over the past two decades, the average annual growth rate amounted to 2.9%.
Author: Kamila Rynkiewicz.