Over the course of 2022, Maersk teams have been working hard to alleviate issues across the transatlantic network, where widespread operational challenges have caused frequent disruption. However, despite the first three-quarters of the year proving a test, we are now seeing a significant improvement in schedule performance.
The Port of Newark, for example, has seen waiting times reduce from 21 days to 0 days. Partner and customer collaboration, port consolidation and additional vessel deployment have driven the improvement, but there are still safeguarding actions we’d recommend to customers this winter.
As there are still some areas of congestion on the network – including Houston, Baltimore and Savannah – we advise customers to share their production cycles and changes for the coming months. Maersk can then assess the possibility of diverting cargo to alternative ports away from bottlenecks and keep your supply chain moving.
The transatlantic lane is often impacted by turbulent weather during the winter period, and disruption is expected this season as well. As such, Maersk has laid out a winter plan that aims to build stability, enhance reliability and navigate challenges as best as possible for customers.
Our teams will continue to review and evaluate the plan heading into the new year, making adjustments where necessary and ultimately ensuring minimal supply chain disruption.
Check Maersk schedules here.
Key ports update
European hubs and main gateway terminals continue to stabilise with limited to no waiting times. We expect the current situation and good performance to remain the same throughout December and this is supporting improved reliability for customers.
While performance has improved, winter months typically bring a new set of challenges – from weather conditions to the upcoming holiday period. Our teams have finalised seasonal contingency plans ahead of the holiday period to ensure minimal disruptions to customers and are closely monitoring the changing weather conditions in order to take action as necessary.
At the moment, colder weather is expected in northern Europe due to northerly/easterly winds, with potential periods of fog. Due to easterly winds, our teams are keeping a close eye on water levels in German ports. To follow the latest weather-related updates across Europe, visit our dedicated weather updates page.
In Rotterdam, Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) negotiations have started this week. Operational delays are unfortunately possible during this period and our teams have worked on contingency planning to mitigate any disruptions to our customers’ supply chains. We continue to closely monitor the situation and will keep our customers informed of any developments and update the dedicated advisory page as the situation evolves.
Air freight update
High jet fuel rates continue to have an impact on air freight services, although prices have stabilised in some areas recently. However, general inflation affecting everyday consumers has meant demand for goods across Europe has dwindled – leading to there being no noticeable peak season for air in late 2022.
Inbound cargo is down 11% year-on-year and year-to-date, while Europe tonnage is down 4% year-on-year and unlikely to improve in the near-future.
As we move in to 2023, volume growth is expected to remain flat for the first quarter. The looming possibility of recession across Europe means consumer demand will continue to be impacted, and subsequently air freight demand.
December will see strike action in both the UK and Australia cause disruption to services. Maersk will keep a close eye on the developing situation and communicate the latest information to customers as soon as possible, if strikes go ahead as planned.
Maersk Air Freight will continue use its own controlled network to keep supply chains moving quickly when needed. As extreme weather conditions are expected to affect ocean and inland services through winter, air will act as a reliable alternative this season.
For more information on our air network and expansion, click here.
Heading into the winter months, bad weather conditions are expected to cause disruption to port operations, which will add pressure to the rail and trucking networks as alternative transport. However, inclement weather conditions can also pose challenges for inland transportation, with the likes of snow and ice causing issues to railway tracks.
Maersk will work closely with rail operators across Europe to formulate contingency plans and we will keep customers informed of any disruption to services as soon as possible. Planning ahead and allowing for unexpected delays through winter will be the best course of action for minimising the impact on your supply chain.
Elsewhere, the trucking industry remains stretched as a result of fuel prices rising and driver shortages persisting. Our teams will continue to monitor the situation and deploy additional landside transportation to ease pressure where required.
Rail strikes have caused a number of network issues throughout 2022, and December will see another wave of strikes occurring across the UK. To stay up to date with schedules and the latest information, head to our dedicated advisory page here.
Development is ongoing within the Cross Border Rail (CBR) solution, as teams are exploring new corridors in line with customer demands – including services connecting Italy and Spain with the Nordics. Our goal is to leverage existing corridors and create round-trip / more frequent departures in 2023, as well as sharpen our value proposition out of Turkey. We will keep customers update on the latest CBR information as soon as it’s available.
For more information on inland services, click here.
While Cyber Week sales have seen a global growth of 2% compared to last year, online retailers in Europe experienced mixed results. In eastern Europe, online sales grew by 11%, while northern Europe, western Europe and the UK saw a decline between 1% and 18% (Salesforce). Despite the fact that we are seeing growth on a percentage basis, it is important to consider that Euro area annual inflation in November 2022 is projected to be 10%. It is likely that the growth in e-commerce sales that we see are significantly influenced by the increased prices due to inflation instead of pure growth in volume. Retailers are also reporting low expectations for Christmas, due to high inflation and rising energy prices.
Although online sales are fluctuating, social media selling and streaming platforms continue to grow across Europe. PayPal reports 43% of consumers have made a purchase through social media in the past six months and 17% do so at least weekly.
As costs are rising in Europe, carrier costs for home delivery are also expected to increase with up to 20% due to energy prices and surcharges. To optimise costs of last-mile delivery, businesses can mix and match carriers, which would also lower the risk of delay due to carrier strikes, use PUDO (pick-up drop-off) locations, or offer slower delivery speed to consumers. Effective return policies can also help optimise supply chains and keep a positive profit margin. Find out how.
Maersk E-Delivery is keeping a close eye on the ever-changing developments across Europe and planning ahead where necessary to ensure lead times between 2-4 days for your cross-border deliveries. Head to the E-Delivery portal here.
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Click here for the Maersk Asia Pacific market update.
Click here for the Maersk North America market update.