Global port congestion remains high and to be prolonged by recent events, says Clarksons

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Disruption to global logistics and supply chains remains widespread, with overall port congestion now running above the levels seen last year and specific container fleet congestion trending towards previous highs, according to Steve Gordon, Managing Director of Clarksons Research.

Disruption to global logistics and supply chains remains widespread, with the Ukraine conflict and new Covid-19 lockdowns in shipping’s biggest market, China, contributing to further elevated levels of delay across the global maritime transportation system.

Port congestion remains a major contributor to elevated freight and strong market conditions in many shipping segments, with the ClarkSea Index, a cross-segment charter index for global shipping, reaching $41,377/day on 18th March, just 3% below the 12-year high seen in October 2021.

Key congestion ‘hotspots’ across the container network this year include the US, China and Northern Europe.

In addition, the level of bulkcarrier capacity at or around port globally has increased further this year, Gordon continues, while port congestion related to car carriers has also seen a new record high.

Clarksons’ earlier expectation that congestion would take some time to unwind has been amplified by the impacts of the Ukraine conflict and the new Covid-19 disruption in China. It also expects the direct and indirect impacts of the Ukraine conflict (such as vessel re-positioning, changing trading patterns, stockpiling, sanctions, chartering policies) to create further ‘inefficiencies’ across the maritime transport system.

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