Container shortage hitting exporters in US and Europe
The container shortage is not just affecting Asia ports, but also inland exporters in the US and in a number of European countries. US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) chairman Michael Khouri highlighted the issue of shipping lines not supplying containers to agricultural exporters inland in the US.
“Some ocean carriers – not all – have stated that they will no longer deploy – that is – reposition empty containers to the US interior agricultural areas. Instead, they are expediting empties back to Asia. This abandonment of a significant US export industry – the American agricultural industry – is shutting them out of global markets,” he told the virtual Global Maritime Conference.
The FMC is looking at possible actions it could take. “We are looking into all potential – I repeat – all potential responsive actions, including a review of whether such ocean carriers’ actions are in full compliance with the Shipping Act and more specifically the various “Prohibited Acts” sections of the Act,” said Chairman Khouri.
Meanwhile in Hapag-Lloyd has stopped accepting 40-foot reefer container booking for empty pick-up from depots in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary and Czech Republic until the end of the year. In Hamburg it has also stopped container booking for empty pick-up for 40-foot GP units till the end of the year.
“Our aim is to support all confirmed export bookings but it might come to booking cancellations in individual cases. We do our utmost to avoid such cases and to serve all our customers as best as possible. We expect the situation to remain extremely tight over the next weeks,” Hapag-Lloyd said in customer advisory.