Situation in the sea freight market remains tense

a. hartrodt team finds individual solutions together with customers.

"Unfortunately, the difficult situation in sea freight will not change in the short term," Marcel Cohrs, Seafreight Manager Germany at a. hartrodt in Hamburg, is convinced. There have been capacity bottlenecks for two months now, "because the carriers have made ship space scarce". Import FCLs ("Full Container Load") from the Far East have been particularly affected, with rates more than doubling between mid-March and the end of April 2024, according to Marcel Cohrs. However, customers get through the rough seas safely with a. hartrodt: "We provide regular updates on the current situation, have lots of individual conversations and find customized solutions together."

Current lack of empty containers in Europe

In the meantime, the schedules around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa are working smoothly, with transit times ten to twelve days longer compared to the Red Sea. Instead, a. hartrodt, like other freight forwarders, is faced with the problem that "existing contracts have been reduced or containers are left standing," reports Marcel Cohrs. On top of this, empty containers are currently being transported to Asia "and then they are missing here in Europe".

Prioritize which freight needs to be shipped quickly

In the current difficult situation, the Seafreight Manager Germany recommends planning further in advance – "at least four weeks before the goods are finished". His most important advice for customers: "Prioritize which freight needs to be shipped quickly and what can be left standing a little bit longer." The experts at a. hartrodt try to load FCL alternatively in LCL (Less than Container Load): "We have secured a very stable LCL volume early on, which we can scale individually." The sea freight team looks at the possibilities in detail together with the customer. This includes the customs clearance expertise of a. hartrodt.

At present, no all-clear can be given for the high freight rates. According to Marcel Cohrs, "the current situation will keep us busy until at least the end of the third quarter of this year".

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