Corona has significantly extended the transit times for some Asian transports on seagoing vessels. 47 days it takes for sea containers to travel from Shanghai to Hamburg and vice versa with the combined FE2 and FE4 service of the liner shipping consortium The Alliance. "We are forced to reject solutions that worked in the past and to plan anew," reports Matthias Pichler, General Manager Ocean Freight Export Asia at a. hartrodt in Hamburg. For the liner shipping consortia Ocean Alliance and 2M, Alf Hörnig, General Manager Seafreight Import- and Customs Service at a. hartrodt in Hamburg, mentions current transit times of 35 to 37 days between Shanghai and Hamburg. "The customer must decide whether he is willing to pay a higher price for the time advantage," he says.
Capacity bottlenecks in shipping space and empty containers
"Not only individual ship departures were cancelled (blank sailings), but also complete services were suspended", Hörnig summarizes the current situation. This was a reaction of the carriers to the worldwide decreasing transport demand of industrial and commercial companies. The consequence: capacity bottlenecks in shipping space and empty containers. "This led to a large number of movements and shifts in the offer of liner services, so that maximum flexibility is required in terms of the selection of the carriers," says Pichler. But he remains confident: "Together with the customer we always find a solution. "
Detour via Cape of Good Hope
The FE2/FE4 service, which has been combined since the beginning of May, will continue in this combined mode until at least the end of September. "Towards Asia, this means a detour via the Cape of Good Hope," says Pichler. Other Corona adaptations may even offer advantages for customers: "From July to September, The Alliance's FE3 service also calls at the important Chinese ports of Ningbo and Shanghai," Hörnig gives an example.
Hörnig observes that the quantities of goods to be shipped from Asia are now increasing again. Therefore, he hopes for a. hartrodt's business "that the sea freight volume will stabilize at the previous year's level by the end of the year". Pichler expects "similar trends" in exports from Europe to the Far East. However, according to him, investment behavior in individual Asian countries is "extremely different".