There have been many challenging periods over the years, but the situation over the last 12 months is unique, in as much as it has had a global impact. All continents are seeing high volumes and operational challenges, restricting both ocean and land-side capacity at the same time.
Like all carriers, Maersk has been heavily affected by COVID-19 outbreaks slowing down local operations. Regardless if it is a port, vessel or warehouse, when one becomes impacted it quickly results in a downward spiral as delays accumulate. We see pockets of improvements, only to get setbacks when our operations encounters new COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns. Currently, Vietnam is suffering and in the southern cities where a lot of factories and warehouses are located, COVID-19 cases are on an increasing trend and lockdowns are to continue.
This has a direct impact on our ocean sailings and our ability to your export your goods. This is not because the vessels are not sailing, but even in a best-case scenario, a delay of 1-3 days in a port on a 12-port rotation often means that a roundtrip of 10 weeks can take 11 or 12 weeks.
In the example above, it is notably our customers in Asia and North America that will experience a direct impact on their supply chain, but globally our customers will be face to face with local disruptions. As an example, in Europe there is waiting time to berth almost every large port due to labour shortage and high yard density slowing down efficiency.
In dealing with these challenges, we have deployed more vessels and containers than prior to the pandemic, yet we still see unfortunate delays leading to missed sailings and missed capacity. We are looking to optimise all corridors in the rotation, call alternative ports and actively reposition empty containers, all with the objective of leaving as little unused capacity as possible on all legs. However, when experiencing sudden and significant spikes in demand, the situation remains testing.
In this ever-changing environment, communication around developments is more important than it has ever been. At Maersk, we have throughout 2021 made a focused effort to communicate as early as possible when faced with constraints, irrespective of whether it has a positive or negative impact on the supply chain. We are communicating locally but we also see the need to share a global message. From a customer perspective, our advice remains: please prioritise your cargo.
Getting early advice from our customers about changes in supply patterns, priority shipments ++ will assist in providing you with the best possible service and outcome. Engaging as far upstream in the supply chain as possible will allow other solutions to be developed. For critical shipments we recommend that you reach out to your local sales representative for dialogues and quotations on alternative solutions, such as air and rail for urgent cargo still at origin or elsewhere.
Please continue to visit Maersk website for all the latest updates. Also, note that you can use our interactive map functionality to track any Maersk vessel in real time and gain access to AI-powered predictive analysis and estimated times of arrival (ETA) via our Hub. Click here to login to the Hub.
Should you have any questions, please contact your local Maersk professional.