Container ship congestion in North Sea increases again: IfW Kiel
The ongoing congestion of container ships in the North Sea is worsening again after a significant, temporary improvement, the German Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel) said on Tuesday.
In the waiting areas observed by IfW Kiel, “congestion in the North Sea is the most serious for the first time,” the institute said in a report. “More than 2 percent of global freight capacity is at a standstill there and can neither be loaded nor unloaded.”
“Congestion in container shipping is becoming entrenched at a high level,” IfW Kiel warned. “Currently, around 11 percent of all shipped goods are stuck.” Nevertheless, the latest update of the Kiel Trade Indicator shows a 1.2 percent month-on-month increase in global trade in August.
Container throughput in Germany’s largest universal port Hamburg in the first half of 2022 was “more positive than expected,” Port of Hamburg Marketing said. Total cargo handled increased by 0.9 percent to 4.4 million TEUs (20-foot standard containers).
China remained the port’s most important trading partner by volume, ahead of the United States and Singapore, according to Port of Hamburg Marketing.
The congestion of container ships is affecting other regions as well. The queue off the states of South Carolina and Georgia in the United States, where the important container port of Savannah is located, is growing rapidly. Outside China’s ports, on the other hand, congestion is on a “cyclical downward trend,” IfW Kiel said.
In the Red Sea, the most important sea trade route between Europe and Asia, the volume of transported goods is 16 percent lower than under normal circumstances, according to the institute.
Last year, China was the largest trading partner of Germany’s sea ports, accounting for just over a fifth of the total container throughput, according to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). Trade with Shanghai alone accounted for 968,000 TEUs.