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Increased demand and worsening port congestion in Asia is forcing the east-west alliance carriers to temporarily adjust their liner service networks.

With long waits for berths on the US west coast and at several North European ports, attempts by shipping lines to recover a vessel’s schedule are being thwarted.

The 2M partners advised recently that they would adjust the sailing schedules of three of their Asia-North Europe loops “to match the actual departure dates from Asia.” According to the 2M partners, the adjustments for the three loops are just the start of their network changes – which will presumably also include the other two loops to North Europe and the AE55/Griffin ‘sweeper’ service.

Maersk and MSC advised customers that the advertised sailing dates of their respective AE6/Lion, AE7/Condor and AE10/Silk services would be retrospectively amended to the actual sailing dates of the ships.

Meanwhile, worsening congestion at Hamburg and Rotterdam is forcing carriers to skip port calls in North Europe. One carrier said its original decision to cancel its Hamburg call was a result of high yard density and exceptional waiting time for their vessels. Additionally, THE Alliance said it was temporarily dropping the eastbound call at Rotterdam of its Asia-North Europe FE4 loop for seven weeks, effective immediately, due to the ongoing congestion situation.

As a result of the pandemic and severe industry conditions, schedule reliability is at a record low. Nonetheless, carriers say that reliability statistics are an unfair reflection on their endeavors to improve the integrity of liner services.

Source: The Loadstar