The consultant found that three shipping alliances, which includes THE Alliance (comprised of Yang Ming, NYK, MOL, Hapag-Lloyd, K-Line and HMM), 2M Alliance (comprises of MSC and Maersk) and the Ocean Alliance (includes CMA CGM, COSCO, OOCL and Evergreen) had dropped 383 calls during the period, ascribed to port congestion, throwing the supply chains of thousands of shippers into disarray.

Importers observed that their containers off-loaded at ports were not in the original shipping plan and were subjected to prolonged and fragmented relay services, while exporters saw their cargo left at ports for weeks awaiting the next available sailing.

In addition to this, some scheduling changes are being made very late by the coalitions, after discussion with operations centres around the world, and often without the correct level of communication with customers – sometimes even eliminating to promptly inform the local country agents.

Alphaliner mentioned that three reasons have been identified for the port omissions: an ad-hoc omission to limit delays; removal of a call for weeks temporarily; and blank or ‘sliding’ sailings where the alliance pushes a voyage back a week.

It further observed THE Alliance members were blanking more voyages than 2M or Ocean Alliance partners, an outcome of THE Alliance’s strategy to sustain the majority of its pro forma calls in North Europe. It added that six out of its 22 sailings during the survey period were dropped due to the prolonged round-trip voyage times of its ships.

According to a survey, the top three North European container hubs, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg, were the biggest losers, missing 216 alliance calls during the five-month period, a combined decrease of 25%, while the UK’s biggest port, Felixstowe, witnessed the biggest downfall in calls on Asia loops, losing a third of its scheduled 154 visits.

Elsewhere in the UK, Southampton witnessed its 66 pro forma calls plunge to 50, while London Gateway’s calls dropped 27%, landing at 32.

 “The terminal operated by DP World has not been able to benefit from the congestion problems in other UK ports as it has done in the past,” said Alphaliner, noting that the visit of the 23,964 TEU HMM Gdansk in the first week of July was the only unscheduled call during the period. No doubt the acute shortage of haulage in the UK had some impact on the ability of London Gateway to accept additional ships and/or the willingness of carriers to consider the facility as an alternative.

Meanwhile, on the plus side, Alphaliner recorded 77 extra inducement calls by the three alliances, the majority of which were made at the smaller ports of Wilhemshaven (24), Bremerhaven (16), Le Havre (11) and Zeebrugge (8).

Additionally, Alphaliner said, the 2M partners, Maersk and MSC, had made “an extra effort to guarantee sailings ex-Gdansk, Gothenburg and Aarhus”.

Source : marinemonks