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European ports have established a flood of activity as Suez’s delay clears

European ports have established a flood of activity as Suez’s delay clears

Workers at the Greek port of Piraeus passed quietly when a wide container ship Ever Upon blocked the Suez Canal, suffocating the flow of ships sailing between Europe and Asia. That is about to change.

“Our work has been slow in the last few days due to the blockade,” said Dimitris Chrysochoidis, a truck driver at the Piraeus dock, one of the first major ports for ships to leave the canal. “We hope the ships will come at the same time – and then we’ll go crazy.”

The shipbuilding industry took a breather on Monday when it was ever delivered, while the container ship is almost as tall as the Empire State Building. was released after being stuck for six days in the main commercial artery.

But European ports are facing a wave of incoming ships as they try to minimize disruptions in supply chains caused by the blockade.

Ship operators are constantly negotiating with port authorities to ensure berthing intervals for ships arriving late at anchor after Suez’s delay, competing with other vessels already scheduled to arrive at the place to unload their cargo.

“What’s happening now is a confusing situation,” said Simon Sundboell, CEO of eeSea, which monitors container ship schedules. “Now that the ketchup bottle is open, negotiations begin.”

Suez’s murmur couldn’t have come at a worse time. They have been ports fighting since the end of last year, to cope with the rise in ship volume due to the rise of the e-commerce sector due to the shortage of containers in China, Workers who are ill with Covid-19 and cross-border boundaries.

Before the lock was ever issued, directors believed they had seen the worst delay. But after a nearly one-week hiatus in the trade route that travels 12% of sea freight, it looks unlikely to return to the normalcy of finely tuned shipping networks.

Ports are struggling to prepare for the dam of incoming ships.

European anchorages are expected to rise by the end of next week, and are expected to rise in Asia and the east coast of the US in the second half of April. The donor himself is expected to arrive in Rotterdam in a fortnight.

In Rotterdam, the largest port in Europe, a special emergency team has been set up among port authorities, industrial groups and transport companies to raise the expected amount of inland space in containers.

“It depends on the speed at which these ships depart from the Suez Canal,” the Rotterdam Port Authority said, adding that the speed of the voyages and the rotation around the ports would be decisive factors in determining congestion.

About 360 boats have passed through the Suez Canal since traffic resumed on Monday evening. Most have moved south and are above the usual 50 flow per day. But more than 200 are still anchored at both ends and more are arriving every day, according to Leth Agencies.

The ports have put up a quiet front. “We have a proven crisis management strategy for such cases,” said Tassos Vamvakidis, commercial director of Piraeus Container Terminal, a Chinese company Cosco.

Bar chart of clean vessel by type of vessel, February 2020 (m) Approximately half of the tonnage passing through the Suez Canal appears in container vessels.

Container terminal operators and port authorities have been forced to make adjustments. Valenciaport, which manages the busiest terminal in Spain, will operate another three hours a day from next week to handle the 24,000 containers of 24,000 shoes that were there. He typically handled 4,000 containers a day from Suez.

“We were lucky that it only lasted six days,” the body told the Financial Times. He estimated that the delay will take between 10 days and two weeks. “If it had lasted longer, it would have been a serious problem.”

Meanwhile, PSA, the container manager, does not allow containers destined for export to the Middle East and Asia to leave their terminals in Antwerp (Europe’s second largest port) more than seven days before departure.

But even when shipping companies and ports are doing very well, some are anticipating long-term disruptions. “This will probably take weeks, maybe even months to stabilize,” the Antwerp Port Authority said.

Shipping vessels will be disappointed to regain the reliability of their services and make the most of bumper freight rates.

Simon Heaney Drewry, director general of container container research, suggested that cargo could be dumped in a port to speed up return to other destinations in Asia. “They may cut off services that pass through the Mediterranean because they have to return to Asia.”

Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company, has warned that “blocking the Suez Canal would have consequences in the coming weeks in global supply chains” as ships pile up in ports when containers fail and arrive where they are needed and other scheduled sea voyages. spin-off course.

As a result, it has suspended short-term reserves for almost all exports outside Asia and many other routes.

Bjorn Hojgaard, the head of one of the world’s largest ship managers, the Hong Kong-based Anglo-Eastern Univan Group, said the cost of maintaining one boat a day is about $ 6,000-8,000, with a daily charter rental of $ 15,000-25,000, with no more waiting .

Northern European ports have the added grace of a few days to clear the decks before traffic arrives. Further south, Vamvakidis pointed to the state of Piraeus ’size and state of the art equipment and highly experienced staff as reasons to be confident in his ability to cope.

But he added: “[The Suez blockage] it reminded me that there are so many variables in this business that you can’t control. ”

Additional reports by Ian Mount in Madrid, Primrose Riordan in Hong Kong, Domitille Alain in Paris and Aime Williams in Washington.

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