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Port congestions projected to increase

Based on data analysed and released by project44, vessels waiting to berth in Asia have seen delays of up to 16.7 days in January 2022

Ocean visibility (tracking) data company project44 has projected that there would be a hike in berthing delays at ports in Asia. According to the director of supply chain insights at project44, the delays have been caused by a number of factors, the omicron variant of COVID-19 being a major reason, “The omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to impact port workers and other supply chain stakeholders. This will continue to impact supply chain operations around the world and will be a major contributor to delays.”

Delays outside of Asia as well
Last month, the port of Los Angeles (LA) recorded handling 865,595 twenty-foot equivalent units, which was an increase of 3.6% from January 2021 and has set a new record in its 115-year history. On the same side of the coast, the port of Long Beach (LB) also set a new record of processing 800,943 TEUs in the month of January. The ports of LA and LB have also reported a decline in port congestion. However, experts have two explanations for this – the Lunar New Year holiday in China and also, ships have been rerouting to the east coast.

Along the east coast, there are reportedly 70 ships waiting to get into the ports, ship queues have lengthened and waiting times do not look good for those already in the queue. According to Hapag-Lloyd, the berth windows are not being honoured as priority seems to be given for ships with more exports than imports and those that are loading 1,000 TEUs or more of empties.

Sea-Intelligence CEO Alan Murphy shared that the main reason of the congestion was the rerouting of vessels from the west coast to east coast, “What is alarming is that there is a 60% increase in the number of vessels on the Asia-North America East Coast trade lane in the coming months, as carriers try to circumnavigate port congestion on the West Coast. This will severely increase pressure on the port infrastructure on the East Coast.”



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