Ocean Update

The effects of the situation in the Red Sea continue to cause industry-wide disruptions - as from January 2024, around 25% of the Global Shipping Capacity was diverted from the Red Sea, adding thousands of miles and one to two weeks to transit times. Likewise, we have seen a number of operational constraints, such as increased vessel waiting times and high yard densities at transhipment hubs.

Container ship navigating through the Red Sea, highlighting the increased transit times due to diversions

All of these effects combined have led to missing vessel berthing positions in Ports in Asia and a variety of ripple effects in other regions such as India and Middle East, as well as Trans-Atlantic trades. For example, Alphaliner reports that the Asia-Europe trade is short by 10% of its standard capacity. To bridge this gap, the shipping industry would need around 36 additional vessels to guarantee weekly sailings on this trade.

Despite hopes that the situation would improve, we continue to face additional challenges and costs.

To minimise disruptions for our customers, our teams have taken a number of actions, including adding between two and three vessels to our services from Asia to North Europe, and between three and four vessels to our services from Asia to Mediterranean. Our teams have also worked on adding over 125,000 containers to the market to avoid equipment shortages, and our terminal teams continue to work at full capacity to safeguard cargo flows across our terminals. For the latest service updates, please click here. For information on Red Sea / Gulf of Aden-related surcharges for cargo from Far East Asia, click here.

Key Ports Update

In the north of Europe, hubs and terminals are showing an overall healthy performance, with no expected weather disruptions in the coming weeks. In Rotterdam, Hamburg, and Aarhus, we are seeing an increase in yard densities and longstanding units. Customers are kindly asked to clear their longstanding units and pick up import containers as soon as possible after discharge.

High container density at Rotterdam port, illustrating increased yard densities.

In the south of the continent, our teams continue to monitor the yard density in Algeciras, and an increase in waiting times, and yard density, in Barcelona. In Algeciras, the imbalance in yard density levels is caused by delays in vessel arrivals and long layovers. Our teams are working on measures to mitigate the impact on our customers’ supply chains, including optimising service schedules to avoid gaps and concentration of calls on the same service direction. We are also kindly asking customers to pick up their import containers as soon as possible.

In Barcelona, we continue to see a congested line-up and increased waiting times matched with a high yard utilization.

Our teams are keeping a close coordination with the terminal to reduce the impact and currently assessing options to reduce the congestion.

Likewise in the Adriatic, ports of Koper and Rijeka are seeing some waiting times and increased yard density of both full and empty containers. To avoid the cost of storage on the container yard, and help alleviate the situations, we kindly ask customers to clear their longstanding import units.

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Air Freight Update

Maersk air freight plane taking off, reflecting the rising demand for air freight solutions.

Tighter ocean capacity from Asia into Europe during peak season combined with the continuing situation in the Red Sea is leading to an upturn in demand and rates for air freight from Asia Pacific and the Middle East, including Maersk’s Sea-Air solution via Dubai, Muscat and Singapore.

As such, air freight is being considered less of a ‘plan B’ solution, but rather a fundamental part of supply chain success. Import rates into Europe from Asia have been gradually increasing since the beginning of Q2.  For the first time this year, average rates exceeded 2023 levels according to WorldACD. On the export side rates out of Europe remain rather stable compared to last month while still being down by 20% year on year.

Please click here to find helpful information about our air freight network and our services to and from Europe.

Inland Update

Heavy floods in the south of Germany are having an impact on our inland network and resulting in train cancellations and stoppages, as well as road closures in several areas. As the situation is ongoing and flooding is expected to continue, it is difficult to assess the full extent of its impact.

Floods in Southern Germany are affecting inland logistics networks.

Our teams are continuously monitoring the situation and reviewing the booked shipments and available capacity to try to minimise the impact to our customers as much as possible. We are also working on replanning any shipments affected by this situation to the next available date and informing customers of any changes as they happen. Find out the latest updates on the operational impact of floods in the south of Germany.

Around Europe, our teams continue to focus on developing inland networks and products that support our customers in enhancing their efficiency.

As demurrage and detention charges can pose significant cost to customers, our Inland Container Yard products include pick-up and drop-off charges to reduce the risk of these charges, as well as add a level of reliability to our customers’ supply chains. To easily view our inland network across rail, road, or barge from European ports to your destination, visit our Inland Services page.

Customs Update

The second release of the EU’s Import Control System (ICS2) went into effect on 3rd June 2024, with the goal of enhancing the user experience through better data processing, advanced security, and a more intuitive interface. ICS2 requires detailed data on imported goods, including 6-digit HS codes, descriptions, and details of the buyer and seller.

Businesses importing into the EU, Norway, Switzerland, or Northern Ireland must now submit a complete Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) dataset to ICS2, covering all modes of transport, including postal and express carriers. Non-compliance may lead to delays, disruptions, fines, and penalties. Click here for more information.

Customs officials inspecting cargo, highlighting new ICS2 regulations.

Elsewhere, the Regulation on Deforestation-Free Products (EUDR) begins on 30th December 2024, and traders or their authorised EUDR representatives should prepare now. This regulation applies to traders importing or exporting the following commodities, or products that are produced through or made of these commodities: cattle, cocoa, coffee, oil palm, rubber, soya, and wood.

Products must be deforestation-free and legally produced, and importers and exporters of EUDR products must submit a Due Diligence Statement via a new system. Importers and exporters remain responsible for compliance with the EUDR, even when they appoint representatives. More information is available here.

Last year, Carbon border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) began its transitional phase during which European businesses must submit quarterly reports for goods imported under the CBAM scope. Recent reports suggest many companies have not submitted their required reports – potentially causing difficulties for their business further down the line. Find out more about the impact of CBAM and what European importers need to know going forward.

Ecommerce Update

The European Parliament has adopted new measures that will see empty space in parcels decrease significantly, meaning businesses should already start to monitor how much of their parcel space is left unused. While this regulation aims to tackle growing waste, reducing the amount of unused space in parcels could lead to further savings with carriers that already charge volumetric weight for their last mile deliveries. Businesses should consider adapting their packaging to four to six different sizes that are able to hold most of the products while maintaining logistics efficiency.

Parcel delivery warehouse in a European city, emphasizing new regulations on parcel space efficiency.

In online sales, recent reports say 96% of Europeans shopped online in the first quarter of the year – showing again that although physical retail locations are great for business and branding, having online presence offers growth opportunities among consumers located further from the business.

Being able to offer multiple solutions through a variety of carriers can further boost growth by ensuring end customers are offered online experience, visibility, delivery times, and returns that suit their needs.

In France, for example, 70% of online shoppers say they prefer retailers that offer eco-friendly delivery options. Despite the existing demand, carriers able to offer such solutions are quite rare, or only located in the big cities with high population count. So far, businesses have not ventured out into more sustainable delivery solutions due to them being seen as more expensive – however offering them along other solutions allows businesses to test their appeal and compare their usage and cost with express and standard delivery options.

Elsewhere in online sales, marketplaces are seeing significant growth particularly in Germany, where marketplace sales account for over half of all online sales. While marketplaces offer more opportunities for brand discovery and increase in online sales, an adapted IT integration with all involved platforms and marketplaces is key to being able to collect data and orders from all channels and use them to inform decisions going forward.

At Maersk, our teams are able to advise customers on the solutions most suited to their business and customer profile. To find out more about how our teams can help provide the best last mile solution for your business, meet us on 5 and 6 June at DELIVER in Amsterdam, or head to our E-Delivery page.

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