Strikes, storms and construction: rail struggles to find its way to German ports

Source: RailFreight
Date: 5th July 2022

Rail terminals in the ports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven are reaching full capacity leading to unforeseen train delays of up to 48 hours and cancellations. The situation results from a combination of port strikes, storm-related infrastructure problems, and planned construction work. Many rail assets are blocked.

The current situation regarding German ports is problematic, not only due to global supply chain hurdles caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. For instance, a month ago, the port of Hamburg announced that it wouldn’t accept any export trains until further notice due to limited track capacity, already delayed trains, and reconstruction works. As a result, rail freight companies had to cancel numerous services, while in combination with some public holidays, the closure’s aftermath could be felt for weeks.

On top of that, the port strikes in Germany arrived a few days later. In early June, German dock workers’ associations called their members to a national strike that escalated in mid-June, causing havoc to the whole supply chain and all transport modes. The backlog of services rendered by the strikes was intensified by some impairments caused by a storm on 30 June and a traffic stop to and from Northern German ports on 2 July for unknown reasons. On top of that, a planned closure of the Elba Valley on 4 July worsened things even more.

Assets blocked-whole network impacted
The situation seems to be getting out of hand currently. The rail operator that uses the ports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven heavily, the situation in the CTA Hamburg terminal, which has reached its capacity limits, affects traffic to other terminals too.

However, this is not the only problem. The operator stressed that many of its rail assets are blocked in the ports causing a substantial lack of equipment, affecting especially the train services to/from Rotterdam and Duisburg, which operate with a delay of up to 48 hours and may even need to force to cancel some of the import and export trains.

The operational restrictions significantly impact train traffic between North German ports and Czechia, Slovakia, Austria, Poland, Hungary, and last but not least, the German hinterland.

NEOLink cooperated with our order processing system. He did not replace it or force solutions. Logfret did it better than other companies on the market – it adapted its system to ours. Logfret didn’t come to us saying, “We have this solution, and you either use it or we won’t cooperate.

Procurement Director

Pumps Manufacturer

We made a huge improvement in global visibility with a global platform—anyone can log into NEOLink and look at a shipment anytime, anywhere in the world. We wanted a freight forwarder with a good technology platform, which could handle the complexities of our business and we found NEOLink!

A global leader in performance materials and specialty chemicals

My suppliers have less or zero experience with international logistics. Thus, not able to create proper documentation which leads to tremendous delay. Thanks to Logfret who provide training to all suppliers and work with us to build up a consolidation hub to reduce transportation costs significantly.

One of the world’s leading designers, manufacturers and distributors of ride control products