Concerns Rise Over Container Shortages Amid Carrier Tactics

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  • Container shortages loom as ocean carriers redirect equipment from Europe and the US to Asia, echoing concerns of post-Covid demand surges.
  • Rerouting around the Cape of Good Hope, nearly 500 containerships disrupt control systems, leaving forwarders uncertain about equipment availability.
  • Lars Jensen warns of significant supply chain impact, anticipating shortages in key locations, exacerbated by round-Africa changes.
  • Carriers respond with rate hikes, with CMA CGM and Maersk announcing increases on routes like Europe to the US east coast, fueling concerns of opportunistic pricing amid potential equipment shortages.

Ocean carrier operations centers are issuing urgent directives to evacuate equipment from Europe and the US back to Asia amidst fears of container shortages. Exporters, who previously benefited from carrier-supplied containers, now worry about a potential repeat of post-Covid demand surges, as carriers prioritize repositioning boxes to Asia for lucrative headhaul rates.

Cape of Good Hope Rerouting and Equipment Uncertainty

Nearly 500 containerships, originally scheduled for the Suez Canal, are being rerouted around the Cape of Good Hope, causing longer voyage times and disrupting ocean carrier container control systems. Forwarders report carriers being non-committal about equipment availability, with issues emerging from North China feeder ports. The lack of carrier predictions and forecasts leaves the situation as first-come, first-served, leading to concerns about container shortages.

Impact on Supply Chain and Rate Hikes

Industry experts, such as Lars Jensen from Vespucci Maritime, emphasize that the temporary equipment shortage in Asia will significantly impact the supply chain, particularly as the Chinese New Year peak approaches. Reports suggest that equipment restrictions are already occurring in China, with carriers limiting releases to VIP customers or spot bookings. Carriers are responding to potential shortages with rate hikes, impacting routes like Europe to the US east coast, as seen with CMA CGM and Maersk announcing rate increases and surcharges.

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Source: The Loadstar

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