March 20 2024 Customer Advisory Notice

March 20, 2024

NZ Local Update

Kiwirail have advised they plan to close the rail link between Port of Tauranga and Auckland Metroport for maintenance over the Easter Period.  During this time there will be no rail movements on this line.  Export cut offs are expected to be bought forward and delays on import containers are expected.

Centreport in Wellington has also advised they will not have a rail service for onforwarding of containers to Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Whanganui or Blenheim from 29th March – 01st April inclusive.

Vessels arriving outside of their berth windows due to delays offshore are also causing disruption at Port of Auckland causing VBS bookings to be in short supply once vessels have discharged.

Due to vessel bunching on imports and decreased volumes of exports reports from truckers are that empty dehire yards are beginning to fill and again will be restricting delivery time slots for empty containers due to capacity constraints.

Revised winter airline schedules once released are expected to cause a drop in capacity with airlines pulling seasonal services to New Zealand.  This coupled with delays on oceanfreight from Europe contributing to increased airfreight volume is expected to cause delays with connections and an increase in airfreight pricing.

Asia Market Update

Shipping lines have continued to try and keep rates higher through the second half of March with volumes higher than expected as factories have come back online.  Backlogged containers rolled from multiple blank sailings over CNY have also kept volumes up for now.  Shipping Lines have indicated however that slashing rates doesn’t bring back the volume this time of year and have a preference for blanking sailings to keep demand and therefore pricing high.

Backlogged tranship cargo from Europe in Southeast Asian tranship ports has caused multiple rolls of booking originating in Southern Asia though lines indicate this has mostly cleared heading into April.

Europe Market Update

As we have touched on in notices, shipping lines are experiencing challenges with transit times due to the ongoing situation in the Red Sea. With no indications of de-escalation in the conflict, all major carriers have now adjusted schedules to fully reflect the Cape of Good Hope routing.  The diversion around the African Continent not only adds additional time to the transit for cargo bound for Asian tranship ports but also extends the return leg back to Europe by the same duration. This is causing challenges at origin ports, including container shortages, congestion and increasing pressure on vital hub ports in Asia and Europe, resulting in frequent schedule changes.

Vessels are regularly arriving at ports on unscheduled days, leading to berthing clashes at several ports. In addition, we are seeing several rotation adjustments in Northern Europe.  All shipping lines are struggling to maintain schedule integrity and reliability compared to advertised transits. The impact of this is evident with the disruption to sea freight schedules and corresponding arrival delays.

Carriers are stating that the Red Sea diversions are expected to be in place until at least Q4 of this year and service adjustments have been made to accommodate this expectation. Shipping lines are now introducing additional capacity to vessel rotations to try to help reduce port omissions and improve their reliability.

BMSB Season is due to end with cargo arriving after 30th April 2024.

USA / Canada Market Update

The Panama Canal Authority has taken steps to reduce maximum ship weights and daily ship crossings in a bid to conserve water. In addition, “land bridge” services have been implemented by some lines utilising a rail service 80kms across Panama between Manzanillo and Cristobal to Balboa.

Snowstorms are causing delays with Rail and Port Operations at East Coast ports.

Australia Update

We are pleased to inform you that DP World has successfully secured a four-year agreement with the Maritime Union ending months of Industrial action at their terminals.  As a result of the negotiated agreement, the MUA has withdrawn all Protected Industrial Action, and each terminal has issued VBS notifications about returning to normal slot allocations and operations.  We are anticipating it will take some time to normal and all backlogs are cleared.

FreightWorks - Ocean Freight Forwarding

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