Source: Lloyd’s Loading List
Date: 4th November 2021
Continued high consumer demand is among the main drivers of congestion along international supply chains, as a “new normal” for logistics settles in for the long term, a report claims.
“Fear of shortages, both real and rumoured, is driving consumers to over-buy once again,” adding that the “strain” to clear US east and west coast ports will be a key initiative to help inbound and outbound port dwell times “slowly decline” in the coming months.
The quarterly publication reports the number of days needed from the moment a container is booked to when a consignee takes delivery at the destination port.
As of October 21, an average of 70 days is needed to book a container, have it shipped overseas and received by ground transport for final delivery, of which 43% is attributed to the time “from booking to gate-in at the port, while another 36% of the increase comes from “ocean transit and awaiting entry time”.
That compares with 13 days or 23% longer than the previous year.
Supply chains used to operate on a precision path, but that has been disrupted by the imbalance of ocean containers, stay-at-home purchasing, shortages of drivers and chassis, and factories lacking “raw materials and components.”
Not least, the report says that the transit time from departure to arrival at the destination port has increased by 36% or five days “sometimes because there is no available berth when the vessel arrives.”
Shipments from Asia to North America have experienced the greatest impacts, with the total time from booking to receipt averaging 70 days — a 39% increase over the past year.
The reasons for the increase include the “diminished workforce” at ports in China, South Korea and Vietnam. This has increased vessel loading times to seven days from five over the past year — a 29% uptick in time needed.
In the US, ports are “so backed up” that dozens of ships holding “tens of thousands” of containers are anchored offshore, while stacks of containers await collection at marine terminals, blocking “all physical space” in which offloaded containers could be placed.
The run from Asia to North America this quarter shows an average of 70 days from initial booking to clearing the gate at the final port, an increase of 39% year over year.
The report says 31% of the increase comes from the time between booking a container to gate-in at the port of departure, while 40% of the extra time comes from ocean transit and “awaiting entry” at the destination port.
It adds that the time from booking a container to when the shipment is received at the port of loading averaged 17 days this quarter “up from 11 days” year on year, a 55% increase.
Dwell times at the loading port have been around seven days since January, about two days more than before the pandemic. But dwell times at destination ports in North America have increased to 10 days.
The reverse run from North America this quarter averaged 87 days from initial booking to clearing the gate at the destination port, an increase of 12% year on year.
Some 45% of the increase comes from booking to gate-in at the loading port, while dwell time at the port of loading has increased 27% year on year this quarter. Around 47% of the increase to 85 days comes from ocean transit and “awaiting entry” time at the destination port.
The report also reports that transit time from Asia to Europe has averaged 75 days, an increase of 31%, while the run from Europe to Asia has averaged 85 days, an rise of 15%.
The transit from North America to Europe has averaged 61 days this quarter, a rise of 28% year on year, while Europe to North America takes 68 days for an increase of 43%.