The global supply chain, currently still very disrupted, is nevertheless marked this autumn by a slight improvement in traffic on the Asia-Europe axis. However, congestion is still rife in the ports of Northern Europe and the United States and China is experiencing an epidemic resurgence in some of its major cities.
NORTHERN EUROPEAN PORTS SATURATED
The ports of Germany and Felixstowe have been affected by strikes by their employees this summer, demanding better working conditions and a pay rise. A situation that has led to significant disruptions in the activity of these ports, which are major in Northern Europe.
The operation of the German ports has resumed and the social partners have reached a compromise.
Concerning the port of Felixstowe, the dockers have suspended their strike but not their demands. A strike is also announced in Liverpool from September 19 for fifteen days, informs the Journal de la Marine Marchande. The mobilization at the port of Felixstowe has had repercussions on other European ports already affected by congestion and the one announced in Liverpool will certainly have similar effects.
Northern France is experiencing saturation, particularly at the ports of Le Havre and Dunkirk. The terminals of the port of Le Havre are still operating on a just-in-time basis, with even longer waiting times for appointments to load and unload containers. More recently, the port of Dunkirk has been experiencing congestion due in particular to a significant increase in the volumes transited (for more information, see our article on congestion at the port of Dunkirk here).
CONGESTION ON THE EAST AND WEST COASTS OF THE USA
The USA is still struggling to reduce the major congestion which last year affected only the West Coast and which has spread to the East Coast since the beginning of the year. More than a hundred vessels are still waiting off the US coast and transit time is inevitably affected. Reducing unloading delays and shipments is proving all the more difficult as terminal storage spaces are full and road transport is still facing a significant shortage of truck drivers, which limits container evacuation capacity.
COVID STILL A PROBLEM IN CHINA
Following the reopening of its production plants and a drop in the number of Covid cases at the beginning of the summer, Chinese ports had regained their operating rhythm, thus reducing port congestion and boosting global traffic. Traffic on the Asia-Europe route has therefore improved in recent months.
However, new cases of Covid contamination have been reported and the country, still focusing on its strict zero Covid policy, has recently put in place restrictions and even confinements in major cities such as Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Chengdu. Manufacturing production could be disrupted again due to this situation, as well as port activities and, consequently, maritime traffic.
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