Further to our previous update, we would like to give you an update on the latest situation in the Northwest European ports.
What is the current situation at ports in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK?
Port strikes Germany: Repeated industrial strike action at German ports has been one of the key drivers behind the disruption, but we’re pleased to report that trade union ver.di and the Central Association of German Seaport Companies (ZDS) have now reached an agreement over employee salaries until May 2024. While this is extremely positive news for logistics operations across Europe, there always remains a very small risk of workers going on strike without union backing. Should anything be set to occur in the coming months, we will keep customers informed as soon as possible.
Challenges at container terminals: High terminal yard density remains challenging, especially in Hamburg and Rotterdam Maasvlakte II Terminal. German inland container terminals are also reaching capacity limitations following efforts to move containers away from the clogged ports, coupled with last mile trucker shortage. At Twill, we continue to encourage you to pick up full import containers as soon as possible after discharge or arrival at the inland terminal. Please reach out to us already around 10 days before arrival at the port to request us to deliver your container(s) and keep any changes to your shipment to a minimum to avoid further disrupting your orders. At the same time, we are striving to provide maximum inland transportation capacity through focused procurement activities to ensure reliable supply chains for your business.
Main vessel berth waiting times: The port of Hamburg remains the most adversely impacted port, with 14 days and more. The reasons for that are labour shortages due to previous strike action, the holiday season, and high dwell time on import cargo. Our planning teams are working on various contingencies, incl. vessel deviations to less congested ports.
Port strikes in the UK: Further mainline vessel schedule disruption across all North European hub ports is expected due to the announced eight-day strike at the UK Port of Felixstowe from 21st August until 29th August. Several voyages' calls at Felixstowe are advanced or delayed to bypass the strike window. This will cause a ripple effect in other connected ports.
At Twill, we closely monitor the situation in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. We will keep you updated in our knowledge hub with any developments.
How are the current weather conditions in Europe impacting the Rhine river traffic?
High temperatures and low rainfall have caused the water levels on the Rhine to decrease substantially in the last couple of weeks. The Rhine connects Germany's industrial heartland with the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam, making it one of Europe's main traffic arteries. The shallow water levels have now led to barges being able to carry no more than 20% of their usual capacity or be forced to cease serving several upper and middle Rhine destinations. This makes barge transportation challenging and worsens the already difficult inland transportation situation.
Our inland transportation and customer service teams are working hard toward finding alternative routings and modes of transport for the affected cargo. So we can mitigate the resulting delays for your cargo as best as possible.
Will the disruptions at ports in Northwest Europe continue?
We expect general disruption to continue throughout August and September and will keep you abreast of any development. Please get in touch with one of our local Twillers if you have any questions or need further assistance for any of your shipments. We thank you for your support and collaboration.
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