(Business Week – Kyunghee Park and Wendy Leung, Bloomberg)
South Korea’s biggest port, overwhelmed with empty containers a year ago, is now dealing with shipping lines that have more cargo than they can carry. Surging shipments of furniture, electronics and clothes to the U.S. and Europe, coupled with capacity cuts by shipping lines, has caused as much as 15% of containers to be delayed in Busan this year, often by more than a week, according to Park Jong Ho, assistant general manager at Busan International Container Terminal Co. “With the economy recovering, we have been seeing a lot of containers that didn’t make it out on time because there wasn’t enough space on ships,” he said.
A capacity crunch on transpacific routes has disrupted deliveries of Asian and U.S. exports, prompting a probe by U.S. regulators. Container lines have cut trips and imposed higher rates on customers, or shippers, after slumping trade and an excess supply of vessels caused industry-wide losses of about $20 billion last year, according to Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd.
“There is seething anger in the shipper community over the way rates have been raised,” said Bjorn Van Jensen, who manages more than 100,000 container shipments a year as logistics head at appliance-maker Electrolux AB. “Carriers see a tight supply situation and they are looking to get rates back up.” Read more here.