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Global port congestion shows signs of improvement, still far from normal

Although there are improvements in container vessel delays and terminal congestion indicators, the port congestion situation worldwide remains far from normal levels, according to the Danish maritime data analysis company Sea-Intelligence.

The analysts noted that while 10.5% of the global fleet is still unavailable due to supply chain delays, it has dropped from 13.8% in January. As a result of this reduction, "3.3% of the global fleet has been released from January to April," said Alan Murphy, CEO of Sea-Intelligence.

As shown in the following figure, China Containerized Freight Index (CCFI) freight rates are highly correlated with the rate of capacity absorption, clearly showing how this capacity loss is the most important factor in the ongoing crisis.

In fact, it can be seen that the capacity absorption has acted as the main indicator for the evolution of the percentages, since the congestion problems seriously started at the end of 2020.

Source:, Sunday Spotlight, issue 566

Regarding terminal congestion, Sea-Intelligence used the bi-weekly customer advisories from HMM to calculate a terminal congestion index.

The company's analysts noted that on North America, the index has been rising steadily since reaching a peak of just over 80% in January 2022, but it still remains very high.

Source:, Sunday Spotlight, issue 566

"However, what is interesting to note is that in Europe, there has been continuing substantial improvement in the overall congestion index over the past month – although it should also be noted that despite the very visible decline, the level of congestion is still very high, compared with pre-pandemic normality," commented Murphy.

On a port level, distinct improvements are seen in Spain, Italy, and Greece, whereas at the other end of the scale there is not much improvement in Rotterdam and Hamburg, according to Sea-Intelligence report.

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