The monthly ocean market update by DHL Global Forwarding is now out:

Topic of the month: Strong cargo demand continues, equipment shortage worsening, schedule reliability deteriorating

Due to the persistent strong cargo demand most carriers have deployed additional capacity leading to infrastructure challenges in many ports, especially in the US.

The port congestion combined with COVID-19 related workforce constraints has led to massive delays with a high number of vessels waiting at anchorage to berth.

As a result the much needed empty equipment is not returning to origin fast enough and the vessel schedule reliability is suffering. The schedule reliability has been on a sharp decline over the past few months and fell to as low as 50.1% in November, down -29.5% compared to the same period a year ago.

Most affected were shipments on the Transpacific to the US East Coast (26.4% reliability). The average delay of vessels globally rose to over 5 days. The situation might ease slightly during the CNY break, however we expect the severe equipment imbalance to last until end of Q1, 2021 and potentially also into Q2, 2021.

This situation is unprecedented and requires a lot of flexibility from customers, forwarders and ocean carriers.

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