The port congestion issue has stretched around the globe with large numbers of container ships idling, waiting for berth spaces to open up across five continents.
As of 3.20pm Singapore time today, there were 328 ships idling in front of ports around the world with 116 ports reporting congestion.
Data from the same reporter a month ago showed 304 ships idling in front of ports and 101 ports reporting disruption.
In May this year the time container ships spent waiting on anchor for berths more than doubled since 2019, according to IHS Markit’s port performance data (IHS Markit is a data and information services business that caters to a variety of industries).
North America saw the biggest deterioration with vessels spending on average 33 hours on anchor in May 2021 versus an average of just eight hours in May 2019. Data for June and July is not yet available, but is likely to show a worsening situation when it is published on the back of the Yantian fallout and many rail issues in North America and Europe.
“It is concerning to see the situation not yet improving. Schedule reliability is still way down on pre-pandemic levels. Taken together with very high growth in call sizes, many terminal yards at full capacity, and continuing problems with repositioning of equipment, it is difficult to see a meaningful improvement in the situation in the near-term.” Turloch Mooney, associate director, maritime and trade at IHS Markit said.
Right now, the reliability that the vessel carrying your goods or expected to pick up your goods will show up on time is roughly 5%. At this time last year, it was around 80%+. As ocean carriers introduce more blank sailings or skip ports to start improving the reliability percentage, that means the freight that was skipped is now added to the backlog of containers that will flow into the next vessel.
It’s likely we won’t see a large shift in congestion until the demand levels out.