Covid 19 Archives-Container shortage hits European base oil shipments

Container shortage hits European base oil shipments

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Base oil loadings from European and Baltic Sea ports are being delayed by up to two weeks by a shortage of container availability, thanks to restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

Reduced availability of containers at certain ports has also been exacerbated by cancelled voyages or by vessels skipping ports that are considered to have a higher risk of coronavirus. This has reduced regional circulation of containers for flexibag loadings.
Where containers are available, coronavirus safety measures and reduced operations are adding 1-3 days to loading.
Container shortages have arisen at ports since the beginning of this year, when the extended lunar new year holiday slowed shipments from Asia-Pacific limiting the number of containers available for re-export.
Shipping company MSC has sent two container ships to China to evacuate empty containers. The 23,756 twenty foot equivalent unit (TEU) MSC Mia — the biggest container ship class — has stopped in the Chinese ports of Nansha, Hong Kong and Yantian and will arrive in Xiamen tomorrow, according to vessel tracking data. The 23,656 TEU MSC Nela — the second biggest container ship class — has stopped in Shanghai and is due in Nansha on 19 March.
Quarantine measures imposed in some countries have also affected the movement of vessels. India requires vessels that departed from certain countries to have spent at least 14 days at sea before landing, which is affecting some short-haul base oils deliveries. Any vessels coming from Asia-Pacific that refuel in Singapore would have to restart the 14-day quarantine period.
The port of Antwerp is fully operational, but expects 15 fewer ships, or about 115,000 TEU of containers, to arrive from Asia-Pacific in the coming weeks. China is Antwerp’s second-largest trading partner country, after the US.

By Catherine Caulfield and Erik Hoffmann

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