Shippers say they feel powerless over the barge congestion crisis in northern Europe, as Loadstar reports.
According to the Dutch barge operator Contargo, barges were waiting up to five days for container loading and unloading and delays of five to seven days had become increasingly frequent, with peak periods seeing even more severe congestion. The delays to barge services in port of Rotterdam and Antwerp is “the consequence of a number of factors, including a shortage of dock labour and handling capacity as a result of rising volumes of shipping”.
In the wake of the ongoing congestion, several barge operators have implemented surcharges. If the situation has not improved by the end of August, Contargo said it will have to extend the congestion surcharge.
The port of Antwerp has formed a committee to tackle the severe barge congestion hampering major European container gateways. The committee includes representatives from shipping companies, terminal and barge operators, shippers, forwarders, Voka/Alfaport, Antwerp Port Authority and the Flemish government.
Inland waterways account for an increasing volume of Europe’s hinterland traffic- including containers- due to a shortage of rail capacity and moves by governments to reduce transport by road for environmental reasons.
Please be guided accordingly. RCL Agencies will continue to monitor the situation and provide more updates once available.