Rising congestions at North European ports are set to continue as vessel sharing alliances (VSA) develop, Drewry Shipping Consultants said in their latest research.
The current congestion poses significant challenge to port calls at Rotterdam and Hamburg.
According to Drewry, the recent decline in the schedule reliability of carriers has been key: on time port calls for all carriers on the Asia-Europe lane have dropped from a high of 83% in mid-2012 to just 51%during January-March this year.
The major cause of declining reliability has been attributed to vessel sharing alliances, resulting in shuffling of vessels around networks.
The trends seems to be picking up, as just this morning another vessel sharing alliance was sealed between Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).
The two have signed a 10 year VSA on the Asia-Europe, Transatlantic and Transpacific trades.
Cancelling of port calls has become a preferred option for shippers to cope with the congestion, as it was the case with the G6 alliance that decided to move a call from Hamburg to Bremerhaven. In addition, Team Lines might be omitting calls or even introducing congestion surcharges at Hamburg and Rotterdam, following delays of up to 48 hours.
Drewry, July 10th, 2014, Image: Port of Hamburg