Tense transport situation

As you have certainly noticed from the media or via your service providers, the transport market has entered an imbalance that has not yet been resolved. Therefore, we would like to give you our assessment of the situation and an outlook from our perspective.

Tense transport situation worsens

Tight availability of sea containers likely until mid-2022

New Covid-19 outbreaks in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong with the ports of Yantian, Shekou and Nansha are causing backlogs, route changes and container shortages due to new quarantine and disinfection measures. Maritime transport accounts for 90% of China's foreign trade.

Since November 2020, the average freight rate for transporting a 20' container from a major Chinese port to Hamburg has increased more than tenfold, rising from USD 1,000 to USD 12,000 as of August 2021. European ports are struggling to cope with the high freight volumes. In conjunction with the strike of handling staff at the Port of Hamburg in May 2021, this additionally led to administrative cost increases for importers due to route changes to Bremerhaven and Wilhelmshaven.

Experts believe that the supply bottlenecks and uncertainty regarding shipments will continue throughout 2021 and extend well into the following year. Importers are forced to take the increased freight and administrative costs into account in their calculations.

Rising number of open truck freight orders is a concern for the industry

The availability of transport capacity in Europe's domestic market remains well below demand. Cooperation with digital freight exchanges helps to find free capacities. The traffic jam caused by the “Ever Given” accident in the Suez Canal continues to hinder the supply chain. The “wave of freight” clogs European ports and ties up considerable resources in the forwarding process. In combination with the difficult availability of truck drivers and the increasing concentration of hauliers, this leads to a constant worsening of the market situation.

According to data from the Transport Market Monitor (TMM) by Ulm-based transport platform Transporeon, the freight space on offer in May 2021 was 58.4% lower than in the same month last year. DB Schenker informed customers in June 2021 that it had to reject cargo to protect the network. And this is not an isolated case. Congestion at the loading bay - also caused by constantly changing legal corona protection measures - leads to delays. The increase in online retail shipments is exacerbating the situation and impacting the entire industrial and retail sector across the board.

In the first quarter of 2021, over 50% more freight shipments were made than in the previous year, according to leading transportation barometers. The volume has increased by 20% in the groupage sector during this period, affecting both B2B and B2C shipments. Prices for truck shipments are climbing to a three-year high.

There is no relief in sight. Through framework agreements with our logistics service providers, we are ensuring that the impact for our customers is cushioned as much as possible.

For further questions please do not hesitate to contact me!

Jochen Ohrdorf
Head of Logistics
Telefon: +49 40 300 501 8143
E-Mail: j.ohrdorf@tergroup.com