With reports that it could take weeks to dislodge the container ship currently blocking the Suez Canal, and that containers might have to be unloaded to free the grounded vessel, supply chain visibility company project44 is projecting worsening delays across European ports in the weeks ahead.
For supply chains already struggling with multi-week delays, the Suez Canal incident is on track to further disrupt business across the globe.
As of 25 March, 10:30 am CET, project44’s tracking showed 47 container vessels representing 540,716 TEUs vessel capacity currently impacted, a 42.5 percent increase over the 379,200 TEUs reported yesterday. Moreover, the chances of a quick solution seem to have disappeared.
Many waiting ships are mega-vessels navigating the Asia-Euro route, making multiple stops in European ports. With even more cargo waiting at Chinese ports for vessels to transport it to those European markets, the delays are equally problematic in the Euro-Asia direction. Given the number of vessels that are affected, carriers' networks could be disrupted for weeks and months.
More than ever, visibility into floating inventory is critical. The ability to divert cargo, manage expectations, and make adjustments in real-time is imperative for shippers.
“Once the log-jam is broken, major ports in Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Hamburg will be swamped,” said Jett McCandless, CEO of project44. “That congestion will have rolling effects further down the supply chain for months to come, exacerbating an already problematic situation at major European ports. With inventories dropping as a result, unfortunately that means the costs will be passed on to the consumer.”