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Maersk foresees severe space shortage ahead of Chinese New Year

A.P. Moller – Maersk has said space to remain tight through to Chinese New Year (CNY) due to on-going capacity constraints and sailing delays.

In its latest Asia Pacific market update, the world’s largest ship and logistics service provider projected a pre-holiday cargo spike ahead of the upcoming CNY on 1-7 February, as some South China barge services will remain suspended.

Maersk expected a tight supply of 40ft equipment, however, stated that there is a surplus of 20ft containers, especially in the greater China area, although some locations may see shortages of equipment ahead of the CNY.

“With 2021 coming to an end, demand remains strong and the outlook for early 2022 remains cautiously optimistic even as global supply chains continue to face congestion and disruption issues and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic poses wider economic challenges,” noted Maersk.

The Danish box carrier reminded that the new Omicron Covid-19 variant is creating more supply disruptions amid many governments again resorting to lockdowns and travel bans which could result in a decline in demand and inflation would fall faster.

The container industry remained capacity constrained even as the global container trade grew 1% year-on-year in October. In addition, landside disruption continued to substantially constrain supply chain capacity, while port bottlenecks reduced effective vessel capacity, according to Maersk's update.

“We expect strong demand and volume during 2022 Chinese New Year starting from this December, and the sporadically reported Covid cases in some areas may bring potential impacts to our customers’ supply chain,” said the shipping company.

“The rush before CNY is an important time for our customers, and we will be in-fleeting containers, returning empty equipment back to Asia at increased speed, and take strong measures to protect capacity – all to ensure we can be there for them in the best way possible through this period and beyond,” commented Ann-Sophie Zerlang Karlsen, head of Asia Pacific Ocean Customer Logistics at Maersk.

Elaborating port situation in Asia and Oceania, Maersk said the ports are seeing increased congestions in many places which include over three days of vessel waiting in Shanghai, Yantian, Shekou, Melbourne, and Auckland.

Meanwhile, vessels at the ports in Busan, Ningbo, Nansha, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tanjung Pelepas, Port Klang, Sydney, and Tauranga are seeing one to three days waiting.

Sharar Nayel
Asia Correspondent

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