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Readjusted shipping schedules and higher-than-expected export volumes have exacerbated congestion at the world’s busiest container terminal, Shanghai.
Although fog caused initial delays at Yangshan, one forwarder in Shanghai told The Loadstar the new alliance schedules had resulted in long delays and crowded quaysides.
As they readjusted to new timetables, ships had failed to call at port at the correct times, said the forwarder, resulting in a logjam of vessels and containers.
“Readjusting alliance shipping schedules is comprehensively to blame. Space was not properly adjusted to account for this, and continued overbooking by carriers has resulted in a build-up of containers waiting to be exported.”
Another source confirmed there had been a higher number of overbooked containers than normal being delivered.
According to the forwarder, the chaos caused has left ships stranded at outer anchorages until berths become available, with some reports suggesting delays of more than 50 hours.
“One ship, Hyundai Forward, was wandering around for two days,” said the forwarder. “This is only worsening issues with equipment storage as containers wait to be loaded.”
In a statement to customers, Norman Global Logistics said inbound container trucks were being limited to two of the four lanes feeding into the port.
“An update from our Shanghai office has confirmed that vessels are waiting more than a week, a situation made worse by dense fog which presented additional operational challenges,” said the company.
“While many of these issues are entirely out of our control, we are working closely with the port and shipping lines to try and minimise the impact of these delays on our customers.”
Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) attributed the congestion to “imbalanced business volumes from major container shipping routes following the regroup of major shipping alliances”.
A Maersk spokesperson told American Shipper it was working closely with Chinese ports to address operational challenges and was “maintaining a dialogue” with its terminal partners.
Forwarder Ligentia informed customers that, to address issues surrounding vessel berthing programmes, the port authorities had temporarily shifted services around the terminals.
It added: “Port authorities announced that the port would be back to normal operating times by the end of May.”
According to SIPG, it has rescheduled calls in April and May from its Guandong and Shengdong container terminals at Yangshan to its Hudong, Pudong and Waigaoqiao terminals.