Congestion at Asian Ports Causing Shipping Delays

Congestion at several critical Asian ports is disrupting shipping service, with berthing delays of at least a week as ships are forced to wait at anchor. The ports of Bangkok, Chittagong, Kolkata, and Shanghai are reported to be most affected, with increased container volumes, poor infrastructure and in some cases, bad weather all contributing to the problem.

At Bangkok Port in the city, upgrades to equipment such as gantry cranes has resulted in lower productivity because only a few are fully operational, which is exacerbating delays. According to carriers, congestion is only a problem at Bangkok Port, not Laem Chabang or Bangkok Modern Terminal.

The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) has taken steps to address the problem by ordering additional cranes and announcing plans to develop new container terminals, but this will not provide immediate relief from the current congestion. Both Chittagong and Bangkok are river ports that are draft-restricted, so larger vessels cannot be used to address cargo backlogs.

At Shanghai and Kolkata, 5-day berthing delays have forced at least one carrier to drop the ports from their rotation in order to maintain sailing schedules, instead using feeder services from alternative ports. Still, this solution involves increased costs and service disruption.

Shapiro will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available.

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