Clarksons Research has said that overall port congestion globally was now running at above the levels seen last year, with specific container fleet congestion trending towards previous highs. Steve Gordon, Managing Director of Clarksons Research, said that disruption to global logistics and supply chains remained widespread. The Ukraine conflict and new Covid-19 lockdowns in China had contributed to further elevated levels of delay across the global maritime transportation system. Port congestion remained a major contributor to elevated freight and strong market conditions in many shipping segments, with the ClarkSea Index, a cross-segment charter index for global shipping, reaching $41,377 a day on March 18th, only 3% less than the 12-year high seen in October 2021.
The key container congestion hot spots this year have included the US, China and Northern Europe. Clarksons also noted that the level of bulk carrier capacity at or around port globally had increased further this year, Gordon continues, while port congestion related to car carriers has also seen a new record high. Clarksons noted that its earlier expectation that congestion would take some time to unwind had been amplified by the impacts of the Ukraine conflict and the new Covid-19 disruption in China. It also expected the direct and indirect impacts of the Ukraine conflict to create further inefficiencies across the maritime transport system.