BERLIN, (Reuters) – More than 2% of global freight capacity is at a standstill in the North Sea, an expert from Germany’s IfW economic institute said, a “very unusual” situation for the ports there.
“There is currently no end in sight to the congestion in container shipping,” said IfW’s Vincent Stamer, adding that traffic jams were also growing outside Chinese ports.
“For Germany and the EU, this affects overseas trade in particular, especially with Asia, where consumer electronics, furniture and textiles, for example, are shipped from.”
Logistics companies have been struggling for months with shipping container schedules, which have been thrown into disarray due to the war in Ukraine and lockdowns in China.
German logistics firm HHLA last month appealed to every link in the supply chain, from clients to railroads, to coordinate better in the face of war-induced disruptions.
“Just-in-time production carries risks. And volatility requires flexibility from everyone,” said CEO Angela Titzrath.
There are also roughly 20% fewer container ships in the Red Sea – the most important trade route between Europe and Asia – than expected under normal circumstances, said the IfW.
The last time the gap was this large was after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic two years ago, according to Stamer.
(Reporting by Rene Wagner and Jan SchwartzWriting by Miranda MurrayEditing by Bernadette Baum)