Asian Ports Face Red Sea Crisis Backlogs, Threatening Global Supply Chains


  • The Red Sea crisis is causing significant congestion at Asian ports, reminiscent of pandemic-related disruptions, and raising concerns about potential backlogs spreading to European facilities.
  • Container ship diversions to avoid the Red Sea and Suez Canal are leading to constant changes in port calls and vessel sizes, challenging port operators amidst unexpected weather events, higher volumes, and holiday disruptions.

Analysts highlight emerging congestion hotspots at ports where vessels arrive outside their docking windows, leading to longer dwell times. Notably, Jebel Ali Port has seen a notable increase in ship dwell times, exerting pressure on trucking and port storage facilities.

Impact on Shipping Routes and Cargo Exchange

The crisis is reshaping shipping routes, with cargo consolidation onto specific routes leading to larger parcel sizes being handled at main ports. Services to and from the Middle East and Southeast Asia have remained stable, but significant fluctuations have been observed in ports like Singapore and Port Klang, impacting cargo capacity and trade volumes.

Logistical Challenges and Implications

Vessel reconfigurations and cargo disruptions pose logistical challenges, with empty containers often in the wrong place, complicating efforts to manage cargo flows. The intensified use of hub ports and larger vessels is expected to exacerbate congestion issues in Asia and potentially spread to European ports.

Future Outlook

While the effects have not yet been felt in European ports, experts warn of impending congestion as the crisis continues to unfold. The rapid deployment and turnaround of vessels, coupled with increased feeder vessel requirements, are expected to escalate pressure on hub ports and eventually lead to congestion in Europe.

The Red Sea crisis highlights the interconnectedness of global supply chains and the vulnerability of maritime trade to disruptions. As Asian ports grapple with congestion, stakeholders must collaborate to mitigate the impact and ensure the smooth flow of goods across continents.

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Source: Container News


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