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Severe Congestion! Major Shipping Companies Suspend Services! Shanghai Port Faces Its Biggest Challenge in Three Years!

With global trade activities flourishing and demand on the rise, the shipping industry is facing unprecedented challenges. Recently, the escalation of the Suez Canal crisis and the intensification of global capacity constraints have led to significant increases in shipping rates, placing companies under severe pressure due to container and vessel shortages. Notably, the supply tightness extends beyond ships and containers to port congestion, straining the entire logistics chain.

According to recent reports, congestion at global ports has significantly worsened since March this year, with container vessel supply reduced by over 2%. Singapore, Dubai, and the Mediterranean region have become focal points for congestion, while container availability in the Asian region remains tight. Particularly concerning is the situation at the Port of Singapore, the world’s second-largest container port, where the backlog of containers now approaches half a million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), surpassing historical highs during the pandemic. Berthing delays at the port have extended to 7 days, posing immense challenges to the global shipping industry.

The Asian region faces particularly severe port congestion. Southeast Asian ports account for 26% of global port bottlenecks, while Northeast Asian ports occupy 23%. Ports including Singapore, Shanghai, Qingdao, Port Klang, and Colombo have experienced varying degrees of congestion. Shanghai Port, as the world’s largest container port, has reached its highest dwell time in nearly three years.

To address the current capacity crunch and port congestion, shipping companies have had to take a series of measures. Maersk, one of the shipping giants, recently announced the suspension of TP20 East Coast services and network restructuring. Additionally, due to severe congestion at Mediterranean and Asian port terminals, Maersk plans to introduce two blank sailings in the coming weeks, temporarily suspending services on certain routes.

Furthermore, according to data from Drewry, 43 sailings have been canceled in major routes such as trans-Pacific, trans-Atlantic, and Asia-North Europe, with a cancellation rate of 7%. These cancellations are primarily concentrated on eastbound trans-Pacific routes, Asia-North Europe, and Mediterranean routes, as well as westbound trans-Atlantic routes.

The exacerbation of port congestion not only affects normal operations for shipping companies but also severely impacts the stability and efficiency of the entire supply chain. Particularly concerning is the situation at the Port of Singapore, which could trigger a domino effect, disrupting transportation plans in other regions.

In light of the current shipping market conditions, shipping companies, port authorities, and logistics enterprises must collaborate closely to find solutions that alleviate capacity constraints and port congestion. Only through joint efforts can we ensure smooth global trade, maintaining stability and efficiency in the supply chain.