New liner schedules combined with poor weather is causing severe disruption in China’s container ports.

Shanghai’s Yangshan terminals are experiencing lengthy delays with vessels queuing at anchorage. The most congested facilities at Shanghai are now suffering from berthing delays which are having a serious impact on feeder service schedules.

Reports suggest these problems have been caused in part by “large phase in/out exercises from the reshuffling of alliance networks in March”. Also unstable weather in the northern hemisphere in spring has added to delays and reduced terminal performance.

Compounding these problems is a rush to load cargo ahead of the month of May when anticipated price rises begin. Improved access to the port from completion of river improvements along the Yangtze River is also creating this bottleneck.

With the increase of mega vessels arriving at ports in the UK from China the traditional five day week for an average UK box haulier becomes a three day manic week followed by a two day lull in anticipation of the next mega vessel. Port pressure has never been greater with the advent of these new super ships.

With the delays in China set to continue short term it is a juggling act for UK hauliers to manage their resources as these delays feed into their everyday work.