ESC: European Exporters to Monitor Current Developments in Container Shipping

Image Courtesy: FTA

The European Shippers’ Council (ESC) Board of Directors has decided to set up a temporary observer group comprised of representatives of European exporters to monitor closely the situation related to the capacity crunch in container shipping

The group will analyze the changes in capacity, the time of delays, and the fluctuation of rates. The data collected will be used to decide on possible next steps, the council noted.

The ESC was asked by representatives of national shippers’ councils as well as by individual export companies to organize an emergency meeting.

This meeting took place last week and focused on the current situation in the maritime sector – goods to be exported have been waiting for up to eight weeks to be loaded on ships as the present capacity is insufficient to take all shipments.

What is more, carriers are said to provide no guarantee that all goods of a shipment will be loaded. Frequently, some goods from a shipment remain in the port. At the same, time spot market freight tariffs are increasing.

As informed, these developments are forcing many traders to cancel their existing sales contracts and limit further sales.

The ESC said that, in order to solve the problem, it is important to answer the following questions: “Is the present situation a natural result of the market adjusting to capacity changes in the maritime sector, or is it an artificially created scenario by certain shipping lines, to increase their profitability? How long will it last?”

According to the ESC, the first signals of a market disturbance were already perceived last November with an increase of blank sailings. No shipper has been invited to discuss the present market situation or consulted in any way about the balance between shipments and capacity, the ESC further said.

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