CMA CGM Puts The Brake On Asia-Europe Bookings Until Dec End
FRENCH shipping giant CMA CGM has stopped taking bookings from Asia to North Europe until the last week of December. Because heavy demand has put pressure on the container supply chain. This has led to chronic equipment shortages. CMA CGM writes that the carriers informed customers that there’ll be a temporary booking stop. It will be on the Asia-North Europe trade for weeks 49, 50 and 51.
CMA CGM said the halt in booking concerns all trades. They blame the strong demand on containers out of Asia and the accumulated backlog over the last weeks. It is unusual for a carrier to refuse booking for three weeks on a major trade lane during peak season demand. But other carriers, such as Hapag-Lloyd, continue to accept bookings. But they also announced steep increases in freight all kinds rates. In this regard, the German carrier is announcing a December 15 rate of $2,945 per TEU from Asia to North Europe. Also there is $3,330 per TEU to heavily congested UK port.
The severe shortage of empty containers in Asian origin ports has been building since September. This happened at a time when the spike in volume from China to the US reduced container availability in Asia by 37%. It is almost 50% lower year over year. Despite the urgency, empty containers in Europe spend on average 23 days in depots.
Despite the pandemic, the consumption did not drop as much as expected, and has since increased. This has created a shortage of slots available on ships. This rate boom has made authorities in the US and China react. First the Chinese authorities summoned the major container lines to a meeting in which they were asked to put a ceiling on the rates. And CMA CGM confirmed that it has participated in the meeting. In the US, the Federal Maritime Commission recently announced that it is monitoring the major container alliances, which the biggest shipping lines operate in.