Germany: Sea and air freight seriously disrupted

Delays continue at German seaports and at the Frankfurt air cargo hub.

In Germany, severe supply chain disruptions are worsening for sea and air freight. Confronted with bottlenecks at German seaports and the air cargo hub in Frankfurt, the well-connected experts at a. hartrodt have few options for speeding up shipments. "Despite the difficult conditions, our target is to offer solutions to customers," says Alf Hoernig, General Manager Seafreight Import and Customs Service at a. hartrodt Germany in Hamburg. After the latest 48-hour strike at the end of last week, customers would still have to be prepared for delays for sea containers via Hamburg, Bremen/Bremerhaven or Wilhelmshaven.

Port terminals do not create space for containers

Ships are queuing up in the German Bight because no space is being made for containers at the port terminals. According to Alf Hoernig, customers with ready-to-ship goods have a problem where to temporarily store export containers and how to insure them. "In import, customers are urgently waiting for their containers," he says. To speed up transit times, a. hartrodt plans to shift on-carriage from rail to truck. "But we are also facing considerable bottlenecks in the truck sector due to a shortage of drivers," says Alf Hoernig.

Air cargo hub Frankfurt runs "into a peak"

To some extent, a. hartrodt is planning to convert sea freight ex China to air freight. At the air cargo hub in Frankfurt, however, the largest ground handler is currently handling import cargo with delays because it is temporarily shifting staff to baggage handling. "In Frankfurt, cargo remains at our booked ramp locations," reports Stefan Goestl, Airfreight Manager Germany at a. hartrodt. At the start of the school vacation in the state of Hesse at the end of this week, "we're running into a peak," he warns: "For less time-critical freight, we're shifting bookings from the weekend to the beginning of the week in coordination with our customers." For exports, he recommends switching to other German airports.

Stefan Goestl expects "enormous delays and restrictions" at Frankfurt Airport until the end of the vacation in Hesse in early September. The Lufthansa board has apologized in advance that "too many employees and resources are missing". The air and sea freight teams of a. hartrodt Germany proactively keep customers continuously informed about the current situation.