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Expert interpretation: 70,000 boxes detained! A port in South Africa may be congested until next year; the United States and the West are oversold! CMA CGM calls on shipping companies not to engage in freight price wars.
The Port of Durban handles approximately 60% of South Africa’s container volume/transportation. Since October, delays and congestion at the Port of Durban, the largest port on South Africa’s east coast, have worsened.
South African port officials report that current congestion at the Durban container port may not be relieved until 2024 or even February.
The South African Freight Forwarders Association, an industry body operating at the port, estimates that nearly 71,000 containers are stuck at the port of Durban or on ships waiting offshore.
Many containers are filled with merchandise that retailers hope to sell during the holiday season, but time is running out. Some retailers are now using air freight to stock their goods before Christmas.
Last month, the Port of Durban experienced “unusually windy and rainy” weather, resulting in a loss of 159 hours of operating time. More than 20 ships were waiting to enter the port, with an average delay of 18 days.
In light of the situation at the port of Durban, Maersk imposed a congestion charge of $200 to $400 per container on containers shipped to South Africa from destinations outside East and West Africa in early November. MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company followed suit with a similar congestion charge.
CMA CGM also recently announced that it will impose a port congestion surcharge of US$200 per TEU on routes to Port Elizabeth, Durban and Cape Town starting in December. Maersk and other carriers have also canceled port calls and announced changes to their schedules.