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Maersk provides a snapshot of growing port congestion around the world

Maersk has provided clients with a global congestion update with shippers warned they must brace for another tough year of bottlenecks and disruption.

“Unfortunately, 2022 has not started off as we had hoped,” Maersk warned, adding: “The pandemic is still going strong and unfortunately, we are seeing new outbreaks impacting our ability to move your cargo. General sickness remains high as key ports in key regions are seeing new COVID-19 peaks.”

Unfortunately, 2022 has not started off as we had hoped

The situation is particularly challenging at several hub ports and gateway terminals. Looking at the most acute pain points in northern Europe, as of yesterday, yard density at Bremerhaven stood at 131%, while ships are having to wait seven to 10 days to berth at Felixstowe in the UK.

In North America, yard density at Prince Rupert in Canada was reported to be at 113% yesterday while delays to berth are commonplace across the west coast with Long Beach standing out as the worst with ships waiting between 38 and 45 days to berth.

In China, Maersk said that vessel calls and departures out of Covid-19-hit Ningbo are running normally, however trucking services around the port remain troubled following a partial lockdown of the city which houses the world’s third largest container port.

Analysts at Sea-Intelligence have also reported an uptick in port congestion in the opening days of 2022.

“All the available data shows that congestion and bottleneck problems are worsening getting into 2022, and there is no indication of improvements as of yet,” Sea-Intelligence warned in its latest weekly report.

“As the situation evolves every day, we are working closely with all respective port authorities and coordinating with all involved parts in the local supply chain to help alleviate the situation. That could include slowing down the sea transit for minimal queuing, opening substitute container depots or moving more cargo via alternative modes,” Maersk stated.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. As a keen observer of/at Felixstowe for over 50 years I am disgusted at how Maersk has treated the port since it joined MSC in their 2M Alliance. As recent as 3 years ago Felixstowe Port Authorities allowed berth blocking on their AE6 route since it fitted in with their schedule meaning Maersk/MSC vessels sat on a berth for anything up to 10 days at a time. Yes Felixstowe made a right horlicks of installing new port software which encouraged Maersk to look elsewhere for its ships to berth. Then in the recent golden period for liner profitability Maersk stepped up in their port purchase ambitions and Wilhelmshaven in Germany was brought into their portfolio of shipping interests. On the face of it sheer unadulterated greed entered the equation with Maersk substituting Felixstowe with Wilhelmshaven in their schedules where they were paying themselves to unload the cargo rather than paying an outsider to do it. Totally understandable but Maersk put the blame on slow turnaround at Felixstowe as the reason rather than their own greed. On at least one occasion the Maersk/MSC dedicated berth at Felixstowe was left empty for two days whilst a diverted ship actually sailed past the port on its way to Wilhelshaven in Germany. And still they blame Felixstowe for having to divert their ships elsewhere although the Chinese Shipping Company that uses the port has no such problems and continues to berth their ships. Personally I am glad treacherous Maersk has almost completely disappeared from Felixstowe and hope they will soon take their feeder ships away as well

    1. Dear sir, your comments cannot be denied, but possibly Maersk and its organisation had some trouble finding the way through very vague Brexit “regulations”.

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