Port Congestion Impacts Continue with Blank Sailings in June
If we needed any more proof that the world has yet to return to a state of normalcy, it’s been given to us in the form of further blank sailings announcements. The reason cited for these planned blank sailings is the continued congestion of North American ports and the resulting schedule delays.
Congested Ports Still Plaguing North American Trade
Since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, North American ports have been overwhelmed with traffic and inundated with congestion issues due to a variety of factors. Chief among those factors are blank sailings and increased demand for empty containers leaving US ports bound for Asian countries. A premium is being placed on empty containers to the point that US exports are being delayed in favor of sending back the more profitable empty containers over those filled with trade goods.
While the West Coast was hit particularly hard by port congestion at the onset, shippers diverting to East Coast ports has resulted in those ports becoming congested as well. Case in point, the Port of Charleston has struggled under the weight of a record number of containers having arrived in the first quarter of this year, leading to it being named the world’s most congested port by major logistics companies.
Charleston is far from the only US port that finds itself in the top 10 most congested ports around the globe currently. The ports of Oakland, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Houston, and New York all find themselves among the company of ports with the current longest import container dwell times. The primary metric used for assessing port delays and congestion, dwell time is defined as how long it takes for cargo to leave the port premises after its arrival.
Global import container dwell times at North America’s worst-performing port, Oakland, is nearly a full week (6.92 days). Long Beach, not to be left out of consideration for the most congested port, currently boasts an import container dwell time of 5.61 days.
Suffice it to say that North American port congestion will continue to be an issue in the coming months. Considering this fact, many major carriers have announced blank sailings for North American ports in the month of June.
Major Carriers’ Blank Sailings Announcements for June
According to Drewry’s Cancelled Sailings Tracker, 74 of the 741 scheduled sailings for the month of June have been preemptively canceled. Twenty-six of these cancellations were announced by 2M Alliance, while 22 and 14 cancellations were announced by THE Alliance and Ocean Alliance, respectively.
The ongoing congestion issues in North American ports have gone on so long that major ocean carriers are making plans based on the expectation that the congestion will remain a factor. In light of this, a significant number of scheduled port calls have been and will continue to be canceled.
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