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Continuing Vessel Delays and Schedule Changes

ACA International has released several alerts regarding vessel delays.  Initially our alerts were vessel specific, however during July and August the level of vessel delay reached proportions that would not have been manageable for you to review unless we provided consolidated alerts.  Glenn Hall, our Director Sales, provides this update as to the continuing delays and rescheduling of vessels into Australian ports.

As we have advised, the delays are a result of significant congestion in the port of Sydney and to a lesser degree and as a knock-on effect, Melbourne and Brisbane.  The congestion has been caused by ongoing weather events during July and August forcing terminals to close or slow operations.  Industrial action during August in Sydney further compounded the problem and as per this news release from OOCL on 9 September (OOCL Customer Advisory - Industrial Action – Ongoing Schedule Disruption) there will be ongoing Industrial action in terminals through-out September.

All trade lanes into Australia are being effected, however given the largest number of services originate from South East and Far East Asia, its imports from Asian origins that are being most impacted.

The impact on vessel schedules has been disastrous with the impact being felt in a number of ways

  • Vessels have been delayed days sitting in anchorage awaiting a berth.
  • Vessels have altered their port rotation down the Australian coastline (i.e. the first port of call into Sydney has been rotated with the vessel calling Melbourne or Brisbane first and then returning to Sydney to unload). This has resulted in delays of up to a week.
  • Vessels have terminated a port call, unloading in an earlier port and onforwarding containers on other vessels (e.g. unloading Sydney bound containers in Adelaide or Melbourne and re-loading onto another vessel), again resulting in delays of up to a week.

The advice of these changes is coming at very short notice and schedules advised early in the day can change by a week in the afternoon.

This is impacting on the reliability of information on berthing of your containers in transit to Australia and we understand the frustration and impact it has.

The effect of the delays in Australian ports is now being felt on the return voyages back to origin ports.  Vessel schedules in Origin ports back to Australia have lost all reliability. 

Ports in Asia are being bypassed/omitted to try to get service back to weekly scheduling, however the shipping lines have had difficulties achieving this.  Vessel departures on all schedules from China are slipping over a week, with the northern china services (Shanghai, Ningbo, Qingdao) being impacted most significantly.

Obviously, this is compounding what is a very strong import market in the lead up to Golden Week and unfortunately it will result in delays of shipments into Australia.

Our customer service team will work with you on origin shipments and  our transport teams will keep you updated on changes on arrival and unfortunately you will see delays advised at short notice.

ACA will continue to release news-alerts outlining vessel delays, please review these as they will outline ETA changes that you can discuss further  with your customer service or sales contact

We do understand the impact and we are working closely with carriers and terminals to keep you updated as quickly as is possible

Glenn Hall
Director Sales