Maersk says port delays will stretch into new year

Denmark-based global shipper Maersk has said that global supply chain disruption is likely to extend into 2022. It noted that a lack of lorry drivers worldwide was preventing hundreds of container vessels from offloading goods. CEO Soren Skou said on November 2nd that “the whole system has become one gigantic bottleneck,”

He noted that the biggest problem preventing containers from leaving ports was a lack of labour, particularly drivers of heavy goods vehicles in the US and the UK, despite salaries having been raised “significantly”. Skou said while commenting on Maersk’s top-of-the-range Q3 performance, said that there were 300 container vessels sitting idle outside ports.

Maersk said that it had added more capacity but this could not offset port congestion. Q3 container volumes were down by 4% compared with Q3 2019. They were even slightly down on Q3 in the pandemic-affected 2020. Skou said that “a too large proportion of our capacity is tied up lying waiting outside the ports”.

Maersk also announced that it was buying freight-forwarder Senator International, as well as two Boeing aircraft for operating air-cargo business.