Following the accident of the ultra-large container carrier (ULCC) "Ever Given" in the Suez Canal, sea freight customers continue to need a lot of patience. "In the important trade lane between China and Europe, currently nothing is going according to plan," says Alf Hoernig, General Manager Import at a. hartrodt in Hamburg. Schedules were "completely disrupted" by the several-day blockade at the end of March, he reports. He does not expect things to return to normal in the coming weeks either. The backlog at the Suez Canal can only be reduced step by step. As a result, the volume of ships and cargo is piling up in ports and terminals located along the routes.
Delays in Rotterdam und Hamburg
In the north-range ports, vessel’s estimated time of arrival and handling times at the terminals are delayed. This can be tracked digitally in real-time in Rotterdam. In later ports in the rotation, the bottleneck could increasingly dissolve, but Hamburg is nevertheless preparing for a "peak in calls by ULCCs". In addition, the transit times of vessels that were rerouted around the Cape of Good Hope have been significantly extended.
Booking stops and container shortage
Also in export, booking stops of many carriers and further increasing container shortages make it more and more difficult for sea freight forwarders to provide customers with their usual planning reliability. Especially for urgent shipments, a. hartrodt offers alternative rail transports to and from China, air freight or air-sea services. However, this is not an option for customers whose containers are stuck on the seized "Ever Given". For the 20,000 TEU vessel, the shipping company Evergreen has declared "general average" – and this major loss can be expensive for customers. That's why a. hartrodt strongly recommends to take out transport insurance.
In this tense situation in sea freight, the a. hartrodt team stays in close contact with the customer. "We immediately pass on concrete news about bookings that have already been placed and shipments that are on their way," assures Hoernig.