• 30-11-2021

Major Causes and Consequences of Port Congestion

Port congestion is an frequently critical threat to marine logistics. Transportation companies can be compelled to increase their operational costs only the reason of port congestion. But it doesn’t end there. The congestions also affect the cargo. When stuck at port, the cargo can miss its linking ships or trucks to different destinations and give scheduling problems.

what is port congestion mean?

Port congestion occurs if too many cargo ships need to dock at berth to unload/load then a port can handle it. Ports play a very crucial role in bringing various types of goods. Some ports are sorted based on the cargo in the how they manage it. In port terminals, one freight transporter can reach 10,000 – 20,000 containers. Container ships later must wait outside the port at the dock until a berth is available. Many container ships wait a long time, even up to two weeks, to dock at berth. As ports are a primary international supply chain node, port congestion affects the entire value chain.

Let look into the major causes of port congestion

Port Congestion is a condition wherein a ship arriving at a port for cargo or other operations is unable to berth and has to wait outside at anchorage for a berth to become available.. Port congestion is a significant difficulty faced by many ports globally and can occur due to various reasons like

  • port or terminal is booked to more than its capacity
  • pandemics like the COVID-19
  • lack of port handling equipment
  • lack of yard space

Many ports around the world affected by COVID-19 have pruned down their workforce to evade transmission of the virus.Only less people are available to manage the huge number of ships and containers which decreases the productivity levels, in some cases by more than 60-70%. These concerns can create a backlog on the border side operations which affects the productivity of the port/terminal, resulting in the ship on the berth going for more time and the ships waiting outside for the berth to wait prolonged while other vessels keep adding to the queue..

The issue of port congestion caused by empty containers is not unique to Manila. Countries like Kenya, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, UK have all experienced port congestion due to empty container excess.. Port congestion can also result in reduced cargo space on certain trades forcing shipping lines to declare blank sailings. Shipping lines or ship operators cannot afford to keep the ships waiting at anchorage for days on end due to port congestion..

Ship permissions costs thousands of dollars per day to the ship operator and a ship and containers only create money when they are active and moving. They would rather want to skip a congested port.

Cargo rollover is also one of the consequences of port congestion because some of the lines might resort to cut and run to maintain schedule integrity and the ships cannot stay any longer at an unproductive port.